MP’s unite to support call for cut to wine duty

MP’s have come together to call for a duty cut to wine to support jobs and growth and provide a “level playing field” for the industry.

Speaking at a Westminster debate on the English wine industry, ahead of the Autumn statement, MP’s urged ministers to make representations to the Chancellor and not to leave the wine industry “unnoticed and unprotected”.

Tim Loughton, MP and chair of the All Parliamentary Wine and Spirit Group, paid tribute to the UK wine industry and its “huge growth success story”.

He said: “We need some help on duty. This year, wine was the only alcoholic drink to receive a duty rise. Duty on wine has gone up considerably over the last ten years. The duty per average bottle of wine was £1.33 in 2007 and it is now £2.08.”

His comments were echoed by Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs, who also called for a cut and equal treatment for wine.

As the MP representing the greatest number of English vineyards in Parliament, he said: “There is a case for reducing wine duty in the same way as has happened for beer duty. It has been shown that that has a beneficial impact, and wine has rather lost out in the argument in recent years. Wine duty was frozen at one point, but generally it has increased, and that has a negative effect that could be addressed. I hope that the Minister will join us in making representations to the Chancellor to support the industry by lowering wine duty.”

Overall duty on wine has increased by 56% between 2007 and 2016, in part due to the Alcohol Duty Escalator, which increased wine duty by 2% above inflation for five years between 2008 and 2013.

Britons currently pay £4bn in wine duty in the UK, around £2.08 per bottle of still wine or £2.67 for sparkling.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: “It is important and timely that MP’s debated the excessive and unfair treatment of wine at successive Budgets. The UK wine industry is worth £17.3bn in economic activity, employs 170,000 people and contributes over £9bn in tax to the public finances from its 30 million consumers. Government should follow the calls of the Members of Parliament to provide a level playing field for wine and cut excise duty.

“With Brexit and projected inflation adding to the burden for UK businesses and likely to increase costs to consumers, now is the time to act. Evidence clearly shows that reducing the UK’s excessive wine taxation leads to an increase in Treasury revenues.”

The UK is the second largest importer of wine by volume, after Germany and by value, after the USA.

The UK wine industry employs 170,000 directly and a further 100,000 people in the supply chain.

Following the freeze in wine duty in the 2015 budget, wine duty actually increased over the following year by £139m (+3.6%) from April 2015 to March 2016 inclusive.

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