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Chief of the Week: The Chancellor, George Osborne

Published:  20 March, 2015

It's been another hectic week for the world of wine and spirits. Most of the UK wine trade seemed to have debunked to Dusseldorf for the annual tour of bratwurst stalls at ProWein - without doubt the largest wine fair in the world.

But they were all back home to hear the Chancellor stand up and deliver his Budget on Wednesday lunchtime.

Gorgeous GeorgeGorgeous GeorgeSource: The MirrorThe Chancellor's Budget duty announcements makes him our Chief of the Week

After weeks of speculation the time had come to find out if George Osborne had taken a blind bit of notice of all the campaigning that has been going on across the wine and spirits industry to convince him to Drop the Duty. An exceptionally well co-ordinated campaign, backed up by strong independent economic evidence that a duty cut would actually be good news for the Treasury.

Large numbers of the trade had personally taken the time to join the campaign and lobby their local MP to raise alcohol duties and the fact increasing them was actually damaging a growing and important part of UK business.

Well as Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, which was responsible for kicking off the whole campaign, said the result was "just about perfect".

* a 2% cut on spirits and cider - exactly what the Drop the Duty campaign had called for

* a freeze on wine duty - OK not the 2% the trade had hoped for but it was a cut of sorts as for the first time in 18 years wine duties have not gone up.

* Oh, and let's not forget the 1p off a pint of beer, the third year in a row the Chancellor has raised its glass to the pub and brewing industry. 

What's more George Osborne revealed in his Budget statement that he had been listening to the trade and all those MPs letters that landed on his desk had made an impact. On announcing the spirts cut and freeze on wine duty he added:

"To further support the great British success story, the Scotch whisky industry, the duty on spirits will be cut by 2%. Recognising the important contribution of cider makers to the rural economy, the duty on lower strength cider will be cut by 2%.To support the UK's growing wine industry, the duty on wine will be frozen." 

So credit where credit's due and congratulations to the Chancellor, George Osborne.

Harpers' Chief of the Week.