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WSTA meets Treasury to call for 2% alcohol duty cut

Published:  10 February, 2015

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is today meeting with the Treasury to present its 2015 Budget submission calling for a 2% cut in wine and spirits duty.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is today meeting with the Treasury to present its 2015 Budget submission calling for a 2% cut in wine and spirits duty.

Miles Beale, the chief executive of the WSTA, presented The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne an awardChancellor George Osborne and Miles BealeMiles Beale, the chief executive of the WSTA, presented the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne an award in recognition of the abolition of the duty escalator in 2014. Beale is meeting with Treasury officials today to raise awareness of this year's Drop the Duty campaign.

The WSTA, which represents 340 companies across the wine and spirits trade, says the move will help support growth, jobs and rebalance the economy.

The group is meeting with Priti Patel MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, alongside senior Treasury officials, and will call on the government to:

  • Support the industry and consumers by rebalancing the alcohol duty regime through a modest cut to duty of 2%, unlocking over £3 billion in economic activity and £1.1 billion of additional tax income;
  • Support the English wine industry by offering tax incentives to vineyards that invest in the long term future of the industry, give the industry the voice it deserves on the international stage and commit to using English wine at government receptions;
  • Support the UK spirits industry by making it a trade and investment priority, protecting its interests in trade negotiations and offering tax incentives to micro distillers;
  • Support the pub and hospitality sector by working with industry to help build skills, continue to appoint a pubs minister and continue to work collaboratively with the industry;
  • Continue to invest resources to tackle alcohol related fraud, including continuing the anti-fraud taskforce and give alcohol related fraud a higher priority.

The UK wine and spirits industry is worth almost £45 billion in economic activity to the UK and generates £14.5 billion in tax revenue. The industry supports 600,000 jobs and contributes £5.4 billion to pubs directly and a further £7.5 billion to restaurants and hotels.

There are 30 million UK wine and spirit consumers, who pay almost 60% tax on an average priced bottle of wine and nearly 80% on a bottle of spirits.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: "Despite the fantastic contribution the UK wine and spirits industry makes to the Treasury, we have still faced a difficult climate in recent years. Sales and consumption in the UK has been in decline and the impact of seven years of the Alcohol Duty Escalator has taken its toll on producers and retailers, who have seen their margins squeezed, and on consumers who have seen prices rise higher than inflation as a result.

He said the Budget would have a "profound impact" on the trade, its workers and consumers.

"This is why I am extremely excited about today's opportunity to outline our 2015 Budget submission. This submission looks to set out the facts about the industry including the economic, social and fiscal contribution it makes to the UK. It outlines what the government can do to help the industry reach its full potential by growing and creating jobs and what is being done to ensure that alcohol is being produced, sold and consumed responsibly".

As part of Harpers March for the Independents campaign, this week we are calling on independent wine retailers to lobby their MP and local media to back the Drop the Duty campaign. You can find out more here.