Chancellor slammed for ignoring wine and spirits trade

20 March, 2013

Off-licence chain Oddbins has branded the Chancellor’s scrapping of the beer duty escalator a “publicity stunt” and slammed the Treasury for failing to give wine the same break.

In his annual Budget speech, George Osborne announced beer would no longer see duty rises capped at 2% above inflation.

Brewers rejoiced, but producers of wine, spirits and cider were infuriated to see beer singled out while other BWS categories will continue to be crippled by the escalator.

Ayo Akintola, managing director of Oddbins, said: “Oddbins is very happy that the duty on beer is to be cut. However, the move smacked of a publicity stunt to cover up for there being no measures in this year’s Budget that are likely to significantly turn the country’s economic fortunes around.

“We had hoped that the Chancellor would have been bold enough to address the crippling matter of business rates, changes to which would have led to improvements of trade on the high street. But bold isn’t a word we would use to describe the Chancellor or this Budget. 

“We are delighted that the Chancellor has given a penny in the pint back to the small local British breweries that we so strongly support. But large multiple grocers will be similarly delighted for their lager – mass produced overseas.”

He added: “The beer and wine sectors are both struggling, however the Chancellor however offered no support to the UK’s wine industry.

“Although we are disappointed that the duty escalator on wine was not scrapped, hopefully a door that has been firmly closed for six years has just been opened a little.”

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