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WSTA collects prestigious campaign award for Drop The Duty

Published:  11 December, 2015

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has won the Trade Body Campaign of the Year award for its Drop The Duty campaign at the 2015 Public Affairs Awards.

The ceremony, hosted by Adam Boulton from Sky News, took place last night at the Park Plaza Riverside in London.

The Public Affairs Awards are now in their second year.

They were founded by the Public Relations Consultants Association, Government Knowledge and Zetter's Political Services to recognised expertise in public affairs communication and political lobbying.

The judging panel included experts from across the corporate, media, research and consultancy sectors.

The Drop the Duty campaign achieved the best Budget result for the wine and spirit industry in almost 20 years.

Duty on spirits was cut by 2% and wine duty was frozen.

The WSTA campaign, run in conjuction with MHP Communications, was supported by other trade associations and industry bodies, as well as everyone from major drinks producers to small English wine producers and distillers.

It combined independent economic research, on-line activity and exposure in both national and trade media - including extensive coverage in Harpers Wine & Spirits - to drive individual constituents to write to their MPs and urge Chancellor George Osborne to cut excise duty.

Miles Beale, the chief executive of the WSTA, presented The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne an award in recognition of the abolishment of the duty escalator early this year

The WSTA's previous campaign, Call Time On Duty, won an award for Best PR Campaign at the Association Excellence Awards earlier this year.

The industry is likely to benefit by some £100 million from the changes introduced by the Chancellor, while the latest HMRC figures show that alcohol duty income has increased by £146 million year on year in the first six months of the financial year.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "We are delighted to have won such a prestigious award. We are immensely proud of the Drop the Duty! campaign, so to have this work recognised by the Public Affairs Awards is fantastic - not least because we were competing with great trade bodies from so many industries.

"Most importantly, we are proud of the best Budget result for the industry in almost two decades, and the vast benefits that this result has already delivered for the wine and spirit sector.

"We hope it's the start of a new attitude to a great British industry. Duty rates on wine and spirits remain notoriously high in comparison with our European counterparts - with almost 40% of all alcohol duty collected across 28 EU Member States collected here in the UK.

This is unfair on British consumers and damages great British businesses, especially micro businesses and SMEs.

We hope to see the Chancellor build on this success by continuing to redress such a gross imbalance with another 2% excise duty cut in March 2016.

There are further far-reaching benefits to be gained by another duty cut - for consumers, for the public finances and for all those businesses - large and small - in our great and growing British wine and spirit industry."