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WSTA's Miles Beale urges all in UK drinks industry to help secure 2% cut in alcohol duty

Published:  16 January, 2015

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, spells out today on why it is so important everyone in the UK drinks industry plays their part in trying to secure a 2% drop in alcohol duty in the Budget in March.

Miles BealeMiles Beale

With only nine weeks to go before the Chancellor, George Osborne, stands up to present his last Budget before the General Election, Beale says there is not a moment to lose in convincing him a duty cut not only makes sense for the drinks industry, but for consumer and the Treasury.

Writing on today Beale said that with "the New Year already well under way, I can think of at least one important resolution that I am determined to keep - calling for the government to 'Drop the Duty' on wine and spirits by 2% in the upcoming Budget".

He said it was important the industry built on the success of last year's Call Time on Duty campaign that succeeded in the duty escalator on alcohol being scrapped in the 2014 Budget.

He explained: "The wine and spirits industry is still having to work within a duty system that places unnecessary burdens on producers, distributors and consumers."

WSTA Drop the DutyDrop the Duty

The Drop the Duty campaign, which the WSTA is running in partnership with the Scotch Whisky Association and the TaxPayers' Alliance, is again centred around robust financial evidence, presented by E&Y, that shows the economic benefits of cutting duty.

"Recent analysis undertaken by EY has found that a modest 2% cut in duty on wine and spirits this year would lead to an additional 24,500 jobs across the sector. This not only allows the industry to continue to flourish, enabling producers to invest and expand their businesses, but will also boost the UK economy more broadly - generating an additional £1.5 billion for the public finances."

A cut will also help consumers from being by an "unfair" tax which sees the UK "pay almost 60% tax on a bottle of wine and almost 80% on a bottle of whisky or gin".  

Beale added: "Remarkably, wine duty hasn't had a cut since 1984 - the same year that Wham were topping the charts with 'Wake me up before you Go-Go' and George Osborne was celebrating his 13th birthday."

You can read Beale's full article in the Opinion section.