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| 09 December, 2020
The WSTA has seen a record number of wine and spirit businesses joining membership in 2020 as companies seek help with Covid concerns and life after Brexit.
Over 60 new members have joined the WSTA this year, an increase of more than 15% over the last 12 months – more wine and spirit companies have joined this year than any other over the last decade.
To assist businesses through these turbulent times the WSTA has also today unveiled a new ‘End of Transition’ Checklist, available to all UK wine and spirits companies ahead of the UK’s exit from the Custom’s Union and Single Market on 1st January.
The new WSTA Checklist provides links to both official UK Government guidance and the WSTA’s own guidance to help companies that feel left in the dark over changes coming at the end of the Transition period.
Covering a range of topics including trade agreements, import certification and labelling requirements, the new Checklist represents a ‘one stop shop’ for wine and spirit businesses preparing for the end of Transition.
It sits alongside more detailed guidance, for WSTA members only, in the Association’s suite of resources aimed at helping businesses prepare as best they can for the new trading arrangements in 2021.
The WSTA has recently welcomed news that the Government is to suspend the requirement for wines from the EU to provide a VI-1 form until July 1st 2021 – but warned that the battle was not yet over, and that work would continue to ensure their requirement is removed entirely.
As part of the WSTA efforts to help members understand and overcome Brexit and Covid issues the WSTA held 35 webinars this year, attracting over 1,200 attendees.
And as recently as last week, some 150 fine wine and independent wine merchants attended an open WSTA webinar, during which the WSTA set out the essential preparations that must be at the forefront of business’ minds as the end of Transition draws ever closer.
Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association Miles Beale said:
“At the WSTA we continue to believe that only by showing strong leadership and speaking for all parts of the industry can we help wine and spirit businesses get the best support available from Government.
“I am delighted to have welcomed so many new members into the WSTA this year. The need for the services and expertise we offer has been more starkly clear than ever in 2020.
“Recruiting, supporting and helping more and more wine and spirit businesses to prepare is a priority for the WSTA’s current Chair, Michael Saunders of Bibendum Wine, and is being actively supported by our Board.
“Our new ‘End of Transition Checklist’ provides wine and spirit businesses with everything there is to know so far ahead of the end of Transition on January 1st and complements the work we are already doing to help businesses prepare.
“We have also made our Checklist available to all via our website – regardless of whether they are members or not. It’s important we unite as an industry ahead of what will be a major change in the way we are able to do business in the New Year.
“Our new document sits alongside a wide array of guidance and information we have published over the last 6 months, much of which is only accessible for those businesses that are in membership, and it is yet further evidence of the work we are putting in ahead of 1st January.
“Despite recent good news that dreaded VI-1 forms are to be suspended until 1st July, the Government has not gone far enough and our work in this area will not stop. These forms must be abolished completely – they serve only to increase bureaucracy and cost for business, around £70 million in the first year alone, and will inevitably lead to reduced choice and increased prices for consumers.
“And this brings us back to our purpose. The more members the WSTA has, the more we can do to support those members and to represent their views in the corridors of Government and of Parliament – at a time when it has never been more important.”
For more information on how to join the WSTA please go to their website – https://wsta.co.uk/membership-application