UK government to temporarily suspend costly wine import form requirement

The UK government has decided to put a nine-month hiatus on the dreaded VI-1 forms after Britain leaves the EU.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has lobbied against a requirement to feel in these forms, arguing they would cost the drinks industry £70 million per year.

Chief executive Miles Beale said they would create a bureaucratic nightmare for wine importers and add 10p to the price of a bottle of wine.

A VI-1 form is an import certificate and it is estimated that around 500,000 will be required for wine coming into the UK, including lab analysis, which all producers must pay for.

The government has now agreed to suspend the requirement for them for a nine-month transition period after Britain exits the bloc.

The WSTA called on it to reform import certification for all wine, not just from the EU, to reduce red tape by modernising and simplifying the current system.

Beale said: “The government’s actions are a victory for common sense and will be met with a sense of relief by the UK wine industry as the threat of a £70 million bill has been removed.

“As we made clear in our lengthy discussions with government officials, the additional form filling and laboratory tests needed had paperwork requirements not been suspended would have added a massive burden on businesses and consumers alike.

“We are delighted that the Government has listened to the WSTA and demonstrated that they value the UK wine industry. However, they can and must go further.

“In the upcoming Budget on November 6, they should listen to the WSTA and some 33 million Brits who drink wine and cut wine duty by 2%. This would be the first Government to cut still wine tax since Nigel Lawson was Chancellor in 1984.”

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