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Last call on government to cut duty

Published:  09 March, 2020

A group of 14 MPs has made a last call to the government to cut duty ahead of Wednesday’s Budget.

In a letter to the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Kemi Badenoch, the MPs urge a cut to wine duty, highlighting the impact of unfair wine taxes on consumers.

Flagged up by pressure group Wine Drinkers UK, the letter pinpoints several issues, including emphasising how duty on wine has increased significantly more than on spirits and beer over recent years – by 12% since the welcome decision to scrap the duty escalator in 2014 compared to 2% for spirits and a decrease of 0.2% for beer.

It also pointed to new analysis by the WSTA and Wine Drinkers UK, which found the average price of a bottle of wine is expected to surpass £6 in 2020 for the first time on record – in part due to duty increases.

Meanwhile, Kantar’s data show that this price rise risks alienating 9.7 million shoppers who don’t buy wine priced over £6. This is equivalent to 54% of shoppers of who buy 75CL bottles of still wine.

In addition, the letter highlights that the last time the wine sector received a cut to duty was 36 years ago under Chancellor Nigel Lawson and only then because of a Court Judgement.

“As Exchequer Secretary, you have a duty to ensure that taxation measures do not adversely impact public finances, businesses or consumers. We urge you to take action to redress this imbalance at the upcoming Budget,” it states.

The following MPs were the signatories of the letter: Neil Coyle, Sir Graham Brady, David Warburton, Lord Goddard, Sir Peter Bottomley, Andrew Slaughter, David Linden, Stephen Hammond, Craig Williams, Jamie Stone, Jack Lopresti, Kate Hollern, Nus Ghani and Lord Blencathra.

The plea follows Wine Drinkers UK urging Chancellor not to discriminate against working class and women last week.