UK: Appeal to end alcohol 'super-tax'

The WSTA has issued an appeal to the trade to help put an end to the UK government's alcohol 'super-tax'. 

With one month to go until the Budget, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has issued an open appeal to the sector to work together to persuade the chancellor to end "alcohol super-tax" on 19 March. It has outlined five ways members of the trade can get behind the Call Time on Duty campaign.

According to a statement from the WSTA, since the alcohol duty escalator was introduced in 2008, tax on wine has increased by 50% and 44% on spirits.

UK consumers "now pay more in alcohol duty than France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland combined", said the WSTA.

Independent research from Ernst and Young has found that scrapping the alcohol duty escalator will create more than 6000 jobs and boost the public finances by £230 million in 2014.

A statement from the WSTA said: "Scrapping the Escalator one year early would actually help the Chancellor reduce the deficit and cut unemployment. The challenge is to make sure our voice is heard."

There are five ways to help support the campaign.

1. Email your local MP via the Call Time on Duty website and request that they write to the Chancellor on your behalf 

2. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to email their local MP

3. Follow the campaign on Twitter @CallTimeOnDuty and Tweet your followers to also get behind the campaign

4. Send a letter or a press release to your local paper and outline the impact of the Escalator on your business

5. Display a copy of the campaign poster around your workplace

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: “If the drinks industry unites to make its voice heard, then our campaign will be increasingly hard to ignore. With only four weeks to go until the Chancellor delivers his Budget we need to ensure our voice rings out loud and clear in the corridors of power.

"The escalator is bad for the economy, bad for business and bad for the consumer. It is vital to spell out clearly to the Chancellor the significant contribution of a great British industry to jobs and growth in the UK – as well as its potential if he scraps the Escalator one year early in next month’s Budget.”

A copy of the WSTA’s open letter to the trade can be found here.