Price of alcohol in UK is fourth highest in Europe

7th February, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

The price of alcohol in the UK is 42.7% higher than the EU average, making it the fourth highest in the bloc, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

British drinkers pay 42.7% higher than the EU average for alcohol

The latest figures from the ONS shows that that the UK’s high alcohol price is beaten only by Sweden, Ireland and Finland.

In comparison, France pay 11% below the EU average for alcohol, in Spain it’s 16% below and Bulgaria is 35% less.

The UK also pays the fourth highest duty level on spirits and third highest duty rates for wine and beer in Europe. An average priced bottle of spirits at 40% abv costs £8.05.

Prices have been affected by Brexit’s impact on the pound, rising inflation and the 3.9% inflationary duty rise on alcohol imposed by the chancellor at his Budget last March.

A YouGov poll published in the Wine & Spirit Trade Association’s latest Market Report showed that four out of five people polled are concerned about the prospect of paying higher prices for food and drink.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “Despite the chancellor delivering a welcome and much-needed freeze on wine and spirit duty in the November Budget we still have a long way to go to rebalance the UK’s excessively high duty rates.

“British consumers will find it a hard fact to swallow that they are paying well above average for the luxury of enjoying a drink. In this cold weather people are looking at summer holiday destinations and these alcohol price comparisons make a holiday to France, Spain or Bulgaria a very attractive prospect. Our disproportionately high prices are not helping Britain promote itself as an attractive destination for tourists.

“The government should do more to rebalance duty, and offer British consumers a fairer deal and tourists to the UK a more attractive proposition – both of which would support the more than 550,000 people working in the UK’s world leading wine and spirit industry.”

A graph showing alcoholic beverage prices in EU countries

A graph showing alcoholic beverage prices in EU countries

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