Trade groups call on chancellor to cancel drinks duty hikes

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has joined forces with the British Beer and Pub Association as well as the Scotch Whisky Association to call on chancellor Jeremy Hunt to cancel tax hikes on alcoholic drinks.

The joint statement said that the trade had welcomed the former chancellor’s announcement less than a month ago to freeze alcohol duty.

The groups said the freeze “underpinned the investment our member companies are making across the UK, supported hundreds of thousands of jobs, gave our industries stability and confidence at the time of rising energy costs, Covid recovery, supply chain pressures and fragile consumer confidence.

“This stability has now been shaken, and confidence lost, due to the u-turn announced on Monday.”

The groups pointed out that the reversal of the duty freeze will mean a double-digit tax rise for beer, wine and spirits, “industries that contribute £13 billion to the exchequer through duty alone”, the letter said.

“For hard-pressed consumers, this will mean a significant increase in the price of their favourite drinks at a time when our pubs, restaurants and shops are struggling to manage increasing costs and keeping their doors from shutting for good this winter.”

The trade groups highlighted revenue growth for the sectors and called on the chancellor not to let the industry “pay the price for ‘going too far, too fast’ in other fiscal measures”.

The letter is signed by the chief executives of each organisation.  

Related articles: