WSTA calls for further 2% spirits duty cut

8th February, 2016 by Amy Hopkins

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) has ramped up its lobbying efforts ahead of the UK Budget Statement, joining other voices in calling for a further 2% spirits duty cut.


The WSTA and drinks producers met with the UK treasury to outline their case for a 2% cut to spirits duty

The trade body said that between April and December 2015, spirits revenue went up 4% following a 2% duty cut in last year’s Budget. This compares to a spirits revenue decline of £11m in 2014.

Meanwhile, revenue from wine increased 4% to £114m, compared to an increase of £59m in 2014.

WSTA members are lobbying the UK government for a further 2% cut to wine and spirits duty to “rebuild confidence, create jobs and grow exports”.

Denis O’Flynn, chairman of the WSTA and MD of Pernod Ricard UK, and Miles Beale, CEO of the WSTA, were joined by English vineyard owner Mark Driver and Brighton Gin’s Helen Chesshire to meet Treasury Exchequer Secretary Damian Hinds MP on Thursday to put forward their case for the duty reduction.

They said that on average, when consumers buy a 70cl bottle of spirits, 74% (£7.26) of their money goes on duty and VAT. The UK has the fourth highest spirits duty in the EU.

Last year, Chancellor George Osborne cut spirits duty by 2% following the success of the Drop the Duty campaign, launched as part of a collaboration between the WSTA, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and the Tax Payers’ Alliance.

“The wine and spirit industry has faced difficult trading conditions over the past few years, seeing sales and revenues decline, which has impacted on its ability to create jobs and to invest,” said Beale.

“Our ask of the Chancellor in the 2016 Budget is therefore very simple. To build on his admirable decisions at the last two March budgets, and to move away from some of the highest excise duty rates in the EU.

“We are calling on the Government to cut excise duty on wine and spirit by a modest 2%.

“Evidence now clearly shows that these cuts are not only popular, but have led to greater revenue for the Exchequer, more jobs, greater investment by the industry and a better deal for consumers.”

Last month, the SWA launched its ‘Fair Tax for Whisky: Stand up for Scotch’ campaign, which also urges the government to lower spirits duty by 2%.

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