Trade backs call for duty rates to be revealed before Budget

09 February, 2007

WSTA says change in timing of announcement would mean big savings

Retailers and suppliers are backing the Wine & Spirit Trade Association's call for duty rates to be announced in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report.

In its 2007 Budget submission , the WSTA said the drinks industry would benefit from both time and cost savings if duty changes are announced in November for implementation the next spring.

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said the current regime, under which duty changes are announced on Budget day with 48 hours' notice, was unfair on the trade. He added: "Retailers and suppliers are forced to renegotiate agreements . It's completely unnecessary."

Tim How, chief executive of Majestic, said such a move would be "good news, not just for Majestic but for all parts of the trade".

He added: "It would allow us to plan with greater certainty the effects of a duty increase, because at the moment there is so little time to carry out renegotiations of contracts between the announcement and the implementation.

"There is clearly a cost attached to it but the most problematic aspect is the difficulties it brings to negotiations."

How added: "While we're keen to see change we wouldn't want to see the date of implementation changed from the current timetable. If it was moved to before Christmas as well then it would be very unhelpful.

"We had one year when a duty increase was implemented before Christmas and it was extremely costly."

Tim North, UK director of JP Chenet producer Les Grands Chais de France, said: "It would be an excellent idea. It would mean we'd be able to manage properly how we implement any changes. We'd be able to deal with the European vintages at the end of the year and still be able to plan for the year ahead.

"At the moment what happens isn't hugely costly but it is a lot of bother. You can't plan ahead properly."

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