Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Call Time on Duty piles pressure on government as Budget looms

Published:  27 February, 2014

The Call Time on Duty campaign is ramping up its activity in the final weeks before the Budget with a coaster campaign in pubs urging consumers to lobby MPs.

The TaxPayers Alliance, who have provided 300,000 coasters for pubs and bars across the country, alongside the Wine & Spirits Trade Association and Scotch Whisky Association, are working hard to get the message out before March 19.

The Alcohol Duty Escalator has seen tax on wine increase by 50% and on spirits by 44% since it was introduced in 2008, with 79% of the cost of a bottle of spirits tax and 57% of the price of a bottle of wine tax. This year tax on alcohol will increase by another 2% above inflation, hitting consumers as well as negatively impacting pubs, bars and restaurants. 

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers Alliance, told "Last year we were heavily involved in scrapping beer duty. Having had that success, it's time to get rid of our alcohol duty escalator altogether. In principle beer was exactly the same argument - the duty escalator makes goods increasingly expensive and hits the poorest hardest. Things reach a point when you increase a tax rate and are having an impact on the wider economy, quite apart from making drinks more expensive.

"As the Ernst & Young report showed, if you abolish the duty escalator there will be a cash boost to the economy and jobs. We're hoping that the government will see it that way. The government is currently in 'listening mode' and we've taken every opportunity to make our feelings known."

The coasters briefly outline the campaign, point to the website and urge consumers to contact their MP, because as Isaby says, "the more messages that go to MPs the more pressure is piled on the Chancellor".

"I'd like to think that the Chancellor and Treasury ministers will make a mature decision based on the realities of the situation."

"Last year the rate was abolished for beer, but there are plenty of people who enjoy a glass of Scotch, or a gin and tonic or a glass of wine, who deserve the same treatment.

"We are massively overtaxed in this country compared to most of our European counterparts. We're paying almost 40% of the total EU alcohol duty tax bill, and we're spending more than France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Poland together."

A survey released today by the Call Time on Duty Campaign shows that the majority of British adults believe that the current level of taxation on wine and spirits is 'too high', and do not believe that the level of tax on wine and spirits should be increased.

The WSTA says scrapping the escalator will generate £230 million, create 6,000 new jobs, support restaurants, pubs and bars throughout the UK and create a £1 billion economic boost to the economy.

The wine and spirit industry directly or indirectly supported 475,000 jobs in the UK in 2012, with the majority (69%) directly dependent on the industry's activity.  In 2012/13, the wine and spirit industry directly or indirectly supported over £40 billion of economic activity in the UK.  In 2012, the wine and spirit industry contributed a total of £14.5 billion to Her Majesty's Treasury.