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UK alcohol prices the fourth most expensive in Europe

Published:  07 February, 2018

Britain has been revealed as the fourth most expensive country in Europe when it comes to alcohol.

Brits are paying 43% above the European average for their alcohol, beaten only by Sweden, Ireland and Finland, according to the latest analysis from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

In comparison, the data revealed the French pay 11% below the EU average for their alcohol, in Spain it’s 16% below and in Bulgaria 35% less than the EU average is paid.

The research showed that, despite the Chancellor delivering a “welcome and much-needed” freeze on wine and spirit in the November Budget, Britain still has a long way to go to rebalance the UK’s “excessively high duty rates”, said Miles Beale, chief executive, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

“The government should do more to rebalance duty, and offer British consumers a fairer deal and tourists to the UK a more attractive proposition - both of which would support the more than 550,000 people working in the UK’s world leading wine and spirit industry,” said Beale, adding the “disproportionately high prices” were not helping Britain promote itself as an attractive destination for tourists.

“British consumers will find it a hard fact to swallow that they are paying well above average for the luxury of enjoying a drink - in this cold weather people are looking at summer holiday destinations and these alcohol price comparisons make a holiday to France, Spain or Bulgaria a very attractive prospect.”

Sales figures published in the last WSTA market report revealed the average price of a bottle of wine sold in shops increased 3% to £5.56, with prices affected by the triple whammy resulting from Brexit’s impact on the pound, rising inflation and the 3.9% inflationary duty rise on alcohol imposed by the Chancellor at his Budget last March.

Sales of wine in pubs, bars and restaurants show an average priced 175ml glass of wine has gone up 20p to £3.74 compared to 2016.