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With less than a month to go until the Spring Budget, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and Drinks Retailing are urging the trade to contact local MPs and tell them how removing the temporary easement for wine duty will impact their businesses.

At the moment, wines between 11.5% and 14.5% are taxed at an assumed strength of 12.5% abv. Removing this measure will create a huge administrative burden for retailers and hamper choice for consumers.

“Ministers still don’t understand how burdensome and costly the introduction of the new duty regime is for wine businesses, and just how much more cost and damage losing the easement would cause; especially to small businesses, like the near thousand independent merchants in every corner – and constituency – in the country,” said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.

As part of the DR & WSTA Crush the Red Tape campaign, retailers, producers and importers including The Wine Society, Freixenet Copestick, Cambridge Wine Merchants and Vindependents have spoken out against losing the easement.

Importer Daniel Lambert, who has used his standing on social media to contact MPs and raise awareness of the issue since it was first implemented, called on independent retailers to write to their MPs now. He highlighted the successful scrapping of VI-1 forms, which he said was thanks to a “three-pronged attack” by the WSTA, letters from trade and using social media.

“Writing to your MP is truly important because it puts pressure on them to act – it’s about critical mass,” he said. “The more MPs that understand why this is a bad idea and raise their concerns, the better. We can’t bury our heads in the sand.

“If we don’t put our heads above the parapet, choice in the UK will be decimated, of that I have no doubt. If the easement is scrapped, a lot of niche producers will throw in the towel when it comes to the UK – this is another barrier to trade and they will simply sell their wines elsewhere.”

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