Association condemns tax increases on wines and spirits

Rebecca Prescott20 Mar 2013 (Updated 21 Mar 2013)

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has condemned the chancellor for pushing ahead with inflation busting alcohol tax rises on wines and spirits for the fifth year in a row, through the Alcohol Duty Escalator.

The escalator, which has increased taxation by 2% above RPI inflation each year since 2008, will add another 10p to a bottle of wine and 53p to a litre bottle of spirits after the 5.3% rise.

The latest rise means that consumers will have seen wine duty increase by 50% and spirits duty by 44% since the escalator was introduced in 2008 putting an additional 67p on a bottle of wine and £2.38 on a 70cl bottle of vodka. This comes despite many consumers struggling with stagnating wages and the rising cost of living.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: "This is bad news for the UK wine and spirits sector, with year on year duty increases hitting consumers and businesses hard. It makes little sense to single out beer, particularly as there is a legal precedent to suggest Government is unable to do so.

"If this was designed as a measure to support pubs it seems misplaced: over 41% of drinks sold in pubs are wine and spirits, contributing £9.4bn per year. The Chancellor’s decision ignores the growing value of the English wine industry and the UK spirits industry, which accounts for 18% of all jobs in the EU spirits industry."

Source: WSTA