WSTA publishes General Election Manifesto for spirits

8th May, 2017 by Kristiane Sherry

The UK’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has launched a five-point General Election Manifesto in which it calls on all political parties to protect the interests of the industry.

Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive

Released ahead of the snap 8 June poll, the manifesto focuses on a “well-managed” Brexit, free trade deals, the “excessive” tax regime in the UK, tackling alcohol harm and supporting the industry.

While the WSTA says the wine and spirits sector faces “challenges” including Brexit and a “strict regulatory regime”, it also says there are “opportunities” and the potential to continue the British spirits export “boom”.

The WSTA’s General Election Manifesto calls on all parties to:

  • “Provide certainty to business via a well-managed Brexit, including sufficient transitional arrangements; and continue to work towards frictionless, tariff free trade with the EU;
  • “Promote free trade with non-EU countries, working with the WSTA to develop the best deal for the wine and spirit trade and to promote British produce around the world;
  • “Rebalance the excessively high duty burden on UK businesses and consumers by pledging to revise plans to increase wine and spirit duty by 26% (£1.9bn) over 5 years;
  • “Support proven approaches to reducing alcohol harm through partnership working and self-regulation; and agree to a moratorium on further regulation;
  • “Support the Great British wine and spirit industry by promoting sector deals, under an innovative industrial strategy: for wine and spirits, for food and drink and for British hospitality.”

Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive, said: “This snap general election provides a vital opportunity for the UK’s world leading wine and spirit industry. We need to communicate to new decision makers what has to be done to ensure that our industry can thrive in today’s new political, economic and social landscape.

“We will use our manifesto to help the incoming Members of Parliament understand our business needs. Following our lead a new government can help our industry to continue to grow, innovate and contribute to the already significant £50bn worth of economic activity and our ground breaking work to reduce alcohol harm.

“The WSTA will be working tirelessly to achieve our key aims: continued, tariff-free movement of wines and spirits to and from the EU; new, tariff-free trade agreements with priority countries outside the EU; and, equally, safe passage of our goods – with no additional checks or delays at borders, even once we have left the Customs Union.”

The WSTA has been vocal over Brexit following the European Union membership referendum last year, calling for “uninterrupted trade with the EU” to continue.

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