Women hit hardest by UK drink duty hike
23rd April, 2013 by Andy Young
New analysis from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has found that women will bear the financial brunt as the beer tax cut is wiped out by wine and spirit increases.
The WSTA’s analysis claims that any financial benefits that pubs might have expected from the cut in beer duty will be lost. The WSTA said that if alcohol sales in the on trade “continue at a similar level to last year, pubs, clubs and bars will be paying almost £34 million extra tax in 2013/14 compared to 2012/13.”
Women can expect to be hardest hit by the price increases as the continued duty escalator on all other alcohol products, apart from beer, will see the tax burden across the entire trade increase by £292m.
WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The Chancellor aimed to support pubs with a tax cut for beer in the Budget, but the fact is that his tax rises of over 5% on wines and spirits will wipe out the tax cut for beer and add another £34m to the tax bill for the on trade. We are concerned that women look set to be penalised by wine and spirit price increases across the board, simply because they make different choices about what to drink.”
The analysis claims that as a result of the price increases women will be paying out £65m more than men, around 61% of the total bill. Figures show that 63% of what women drink is wine, compared to 33% for men. Women also drink more spirits than men, 22% compared to 13%. In comparison, 51% of what men drink is lager or ale while this figure sits at 8% for women.
Mr Beale added: “With wine and spirits now accounting for 41% of the value of products sold in the on-trade, the only way the Chancellor can genuinely help pubs is to scrap the hated duty escalator for wine and spirits too.”
The WSTA adds that since the introduction of the duty escalator, by former chancellor Alistair Darling in 2008, wine duty has increased by 50% and spirits duty by 44% – adding an additional 67p to a bottle of wine and £2.38 to a 70cl bottle of vodka.
Last month the drinks business revealed the “Treasury smokescreen” from the cut in beer duty, as next year’s inflationary duty increase will see the chancellor recoup what he has “given away” in this year’s Budget.