The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has launched its manifesto ahead of the upcoming General Election on 8 June.
The WSTA has outlined five “key asks” of all political parties, comprising a well-managed Brexit, the promotion of free-trade deals, addressing an excessive tax regime, support for tackling alcohol harm and an innovative industrial strategy, which it says are “all central requirements for the UK’s wine and spirit industry”.
The association said while the industry faces uncertainty over Brexit, there are opportunities such as the potential to continue the boom in British spirits exports. It said all political parties should “continue to work towards frictionless, tariff-tree trade with the EU”.
As its second point it said parties should also work with the WSTA “to promote free trade with non EU countries and develop the best deal for wine and spirit trade”.
The WSTA also called on parties to “rebalance the excessively high duty burden on UK businesses and consumers by pledging to revise plans to increase wine and spirit duty by 26% (£1.9bn) over five years.
Reducing alcohol harm is another point it highlighted, and it said political parties should all work towards this “through partnership working and self-regulation”.
And finally it pointed to the need to support the UK’s wine and spirit industry by promoting sector deals.
Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA said: “This snap General Election provides a vital opportunity for the UK’s world leading wine and spirit industry. We need to communicate to new decision makers what has to be done to ensure that our industry can thrive in today’s new political, economic and social landscape. We will use our manifesto to help the incoming Members of Parliament understand our business needs. Following our lead a new government can help our industry to continue to grow, innovate and contribute to the already significant £50bn worth of economic activity and our ground breaking work to reduce alcohol harm.
“The WSTA will be working tirelessly to achieve our key aims: continued, tariff-free movement of wines and spirits to and from the EU; new, tariff-free trade agreements with priority countries outside the EU; and, equally, safe passage of our goods – with no additional checks or delays at borders, even once we have left the Customs Union.”