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Trade urged to act ahead of duty review consultation deadline

Published:  26 January, 2022

With just four days to go before the 30 January consultation deadline on the UK Government’s proposed changes to the way excise duty on alcohol is calculated, the last chance to be heard is fast closing in.

Fine wine platform Liv-ex is the latest to add its voice to calls for duty reform, saying “it is vitally important that both the UK wine trade and their customers write to their MPs and contribute to the consultation process.”

Liv-ex has more than 100,000 different labels in its database and annually trades over 12,000 different wines. Having to collect accurate ABVs on both new and existing stocks (as per the proposed 27 duty bands) while catering for such a high variety of wines will add a considerable burden under the proposed scheme.

As Harper’s reported last week, the new system will hit wine drinkers with three times more tax than cider drinkers, 37% more than beer drinkers (on a per unit of alcohol basis) and will massively increase the administrative weight on the supply chain – subsequently increasing the risks which face the industry’s economic sustainability moving forward.

While the proposals would reduce taxation for sparkling wine, duty on still and fortified wine will increase by an average of 20% and 30% respectively, taking an additional £250m from the pockets of UK wine drinkers according to the WSTA , which has heavily criticised the government’s proposed plan.

Joining the call to protect the industry’s longevity is Concha y Toro UK, which previously slammed the proposed duty changes as a ‘regressive step’, in which they name the Government’s suggestions as both “unfair and unworkable for the trade.”

Alarmingly, the new regime will impact already struggling small businesses in light of the disruption caused by COVID-19, threatening their competitive advantage to supply a wide array of artisan wines to customers at attractive prices.

A Liv-ex and many others stress, there is still time for trade members to act – just – before the negotiation period for the proposals expire on 30 January 2022.

To be heard, simply complete the consultation form on the Government’s website here.