WSTA slams British pub tax

British pubs are facing a tax raid of £1bn over the next five years, according to research conducted by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Figures from the Office of Budget Responsibility show that the government plans to increase alcohol duty by more than 3% a year for each year that the conservative party sits in parliament.

“The government really needs to think again - the planned tax rises are potentially very damaging for British pubs,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.

“Our research shows that wine and spirits contribute nearly a third to a landlord’s alcohol income. The government should be supporting landlords, not punishing them, and the best way to do that is to axe planned duty rises on all alcoholic drinks.”

The WSTA has calculated that the government’s planned changes will push pubs’ duty bill for wine and spirits alone up by an additional £110m a year by 2022, on top of the £2bn a year that already goes to the treasury.

The cumulative rise of 18% up to 2022 could see every pub landlord across Britain hit with an additional duty bill of £4,374.

The WSTA argues that this added burden on pubs could threaten closure, with 29 pubs already closing each week according to figures from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The WSTA has written to communities secretary Sajid Javid, who has overall responsibility for pubs, to outline its concerns as the government continues to press ahead with plans to increase duty rates.