WSTA: Wine faces 35% tax hike if escalator goes ahead
Published:  04 February, 2011

Wine tax will have increased 35% in just three years if the government goes ahead with the alcohol duty escalator this year, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association has said.

Spirits duty will have grown 30% in the same period, the body said in its Budget submission.

The WSTA is urging the government to abandon the tax escalator in response to retail figures for 2010 which show wine sales dropped 2% over the year and spirits remained flat.

Chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: “With the recent VAT increase adding to the weekly shopping bill, it’s no time to force drinks prices up further with another inflation-busting tax increase. The scale of tax rises on wine and spirits in recent years has cost thousands of jobs and made matters worse for households struggling to cope in difficult economic circumstances.”?The head of AB Inbev UK, which produces the off-trade’s biggest beer brand, Stella Artois, said tax hikes would severely impact the industry. President Stuart MacFarlane told OLN: “The taxation burden the government puts on is not fair or well-proportioned.”?He said government taxation was close to 9% this year because of VAT increases and the duty escalator.

MacFarlane said he would lobby government “to make sure it understands the pressure it puts on us”.

The WSTA has appointed Carlo Gibbs, a former parliamentary researcher, as its new public affairs executive.

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