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Duty frozen for spirits, cider and beer, but wine will rise with inflation

Published:  29 October, 2018

Investing in Britain’s future was one of the anthems that ran through Philip Hammond’s autumn Budget speech this afternoon.

But not when it comes to the UK’s burgeoning wine industry it seems.

At least this was the reaction of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), which called the Chancellor’s decision to let wine duty rise with inflation a “hammer blow to this great British industry”.

In a surprise move, duty on spirits, beer and cider has been frozen, meaning the cost of a bottle of gin or whisky will be 30p lower (and 2p lower for a pint,) than if duty had risen by inflation.

Wine however was overlooked by the chancellor, resulting in a rise which WSTA chief executive Miles Beale called “grossly unfair, unjustified and counter-productive. The UK is the world’s biggest wine trading nation and, as such, deserves government’s support, not punishment”, he said.

The subject of the ailing British high street was a particular refrain for the Chancellor, who said the freeze on beer and cider in particular would go some way to saving the great British pub.

Elsewhere in Britain’s community centres, independent businesses are due to receive a business rates windfall of around £8,000 a year.

Hammond pledged to cut business rates by a third for all with a rateable value of £51,000 or less, which he said would apply to 90% of small and independent businesses, many of which will be restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops.

NB: The Treasury has now confirmed that RPI is forecast to be 3.1% next year. 

This will mean:

Duty on a 750 ml bottle of wine will go up 7p to £2.23

Duty on 750 ml bottle of sparkling wine will go up 9p to £2.86

Duty on a 750ml bottle of fortified wine will go up 9p to £2.98

These numbers do not include VAT which will add a further 20% to these increases.