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WSTA comments on the publication of the Alcohol Duty Review response

Alcohol Duty Review | 23 September, 2022

Following the Government’s response to the Alcohol Duty Review Consultation Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“We welcome the Government’s sensible decision to freeze duty on wine and spirits.

However, the Government’s response to the consultation on reviewing the way the UK taxes alcohol is a product of the Sunak era and clashes strongly with Chancellor Kwarteng’s desire to unleash the potential of the private sector and to simplify taxation. The proposals mean wine between 11.5% and 14.5% will be taxed at the mid-point – but only for 18 months. After that the Treasury are set to tax wine by strength adding a costly administrative burden for UK wine businesses and consumers. Fortified wine will be offered no transition, meaning the outlook is even worse.

For months the WSTA has been calling for a simpler system for wine taxation which would cut costly red tape. The response published today fails to do so – or to understand the impact that taxing wine by strength will have on the UK wine businesses and consumers.

We need a permanent and simple way of taxing wine, the UK’s most popular alcoholic drink. An 18-month transitional period fails to do this and it is not available to all wines.

These latest proposals will be bad news for consumers worried about the cost of living; and create complexity, burden and cost for UK businesses. They also fail to take advantage of measures that could support the new Chancellor’s aims for private sector-inspired growth the British economy.”

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