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Mangrove exec: ‘speak up’ against punitive taxes

The managing director of Mangrove Global is urging spirits and hospitality industries to ‘speak up’ against the UK’s ‘continuing punitive tax regime’.

Gillett wants the hospitality sector to ‘speak up and try to better the government’s understanding of what we do’

Nick Gillett, managing director of Mangrove Global, said despite the small relief afforded to the industry in this week’s autumn budget, the UK government “fails to understand” the needs of the spirits and hospitality industries.

The budget this week saw alcohol duty frozen until 1 August 2024. However, it follows the the largest alcohol tax hike in almost 50 years on 1 August 2023, with a duty increase of 10.1% for spirits.

Gillett said while it was a “small win”, the industry was still “operating in an environment which is hard to do business in. Especially if you make or sell alcohol”. 

He continued: “Once the golden goose of British industry, the thriving hospitality sector is now on its knees. It has been rebuilt to some degree, but with the soaring cost of goods, inflation, and hostile tax regimes – what chance does it have? 

“Add to that soaring wage bills and the devastating alcohol duty and we are going to see venues, spirits producers, and even retailers shut up shop for the last time. We need to speak up to minimise the damage that’s coming.”

In October, data from trade body UKHospitality, in partnership with CGA by NIQ, revealed Britain’s licensed venues have dipped below the 100,000 mark, a fall of almost a third (31%) in the past 20 years.

The autumn statement also announced an increase in the living wage, but with no National Insurance reductions for employers and continually expensive fuel bills, many are concerned about the additional costs this could impose on hospitality operators.

“The hospitality industry is a key employer and has shown time and time again that it can drive economic recovery,” he said.

“In such a challenging environment, it’s the independent venues that will struggle, and that ultimately means less choice for customers. Mainly big business will survive – and that too will happen with spirits producers.

“The lack of tangible, financial help will leave only the conglomerates able to play and stay stocked on supermarket shelves. In my opinion – that’s a devastating consequence for the consumer.”

‘Support local venues’

With the spring budget four months away, Gillett is calling on producers, venues, and retailers to rally behind any lobbying campaigns, and for people to support local venues.

He added: “With the upcoming festive season approaching I ask everyone to support their local venues this Christmas. And while you’re there, sample a brand of spirit you haven’t tried before and make the most of the selection available to you. 

“To those in the industry, all we can do is speak up and try to better the government’s understanding of what we do. What the autumn statement has given us is evidence that the government are hearing what’s being said. At this point, it’s just unclear if they’re willing to listen.”

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