Abandon tax hike to give drinks an Olympic boost: WSTA

13 February, 2012

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has called on the government to scrap this year’s planned alcohol tax hike to give businesses a boost for the Olympics.

Tax on alcohol could go up as much as 7.2% in this year’s Budget, due to be announced on March 21, thanks to the the alcohol tax escalator.

Duty and VAT already account for three-quarters of the average price of a bottle of vodka and half the price of a bottle of wine, the WSTA said.

It noted that visitors to the London Olympics face paying 50% more for an average bottle of wine than if the games were held in Paris, and three times what they would pay in Madrid.

It also reported that UK alcohol sales dropped 3% by volume in 2011, with sales in pubs and restaurants particularly hard hit.

Interim chief executive Gavin Partington said: “We recognise the pressure there is on the public finances. However easing the duty burden on the drinks industry would boost growth and investment, helping the sector to play its part in the UK’s economic recovery.

“By scrapping the planned duty increase, the Chancellor would also be providing some much needed relief to consumers whose household budgets are already being squeezed. 

“With thousands of extra visitors heading to the UK for the Olympic Games, this is no time to force drinks prices up even further.”

The WSTA’s Budget submission can be read on its website, wsta.co.uk.

Bookmark this

Site Search


Rosé tinted glasses

I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

Click for more »
Upcoming events


Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know