WSTA asks the UK Government for help

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) meets with Economic Secretary to the Treasury today (February 5), ahead of the Budget in March.

The lobbying organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing more than 340 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.

It is making the case for an end to the punitive Alcohol Duty Escalator and offer closer cooperation to deliver deregulation and tackle fraud.

The WSTA believes this is the key to realising the economic potential of the industry, including generating economic growth and creating jobs.

The association has also written to the pubs minister to request a meeting ahead of this year’s Budget to highlight the importance of wine and spirits to the pubs sector.

The Alcohol Duty Escalator, which applies to beer, cider, wine and spirits, is set to raise alcohol taxation by more than 5% again this year. This would mean that since its introduction in 2008 wine duty will have increased by 50% and spirits duty by 44%.

WSTA chief executive, Miles Beale, said: 
“Few British businesses have been hampered as much as those in the wine and spirits sector over recent years. As if the current trading environment wasn't challenging enough, WSTA members have been buffeted by a combination of alcohol and fuel duty escalators, rising costs of raw materials and a regressive alcohol strategy that threatens suffocation by red tape.”

“As we are facing a triple dip recession, the Treasury should be looking to ease the regulatory and tax burdens on an industry that already contributes some £16 billion to the public purse and supports close to 2 million jobs. We are calling on the Government to take a different approach and to encourage growth and job creation in the industry,” said Beale.

"Commenting on the invitation to Brandon Lewis MP, the Minister for Community Pubs, Beale added:
 "We also want the pubs minister to understand and recognise that the well-being of British pubs is at stake. Wine and Spirits account for 41% of the value of products sold in the on trade or some £9.4bn annually and are a vital component to the future of the pub industry. The clear message to Government is that any rise in alcohol taxation - on beer, cider wine or spirits - has an immediate and negative impact on a British industry with potential."