WSTA blames UK duty escalator for high prices25th June, 2013 by Andy Young
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has claimed that the government’s wine and spirits duty escalator is to blame for the UK’s high alcohol prices.
New figures released have shown the UK consumers are paying the fourth highest prices for alcohol in Europe. In some instances UK consumers are paying 43% more for their alcohol than some of their European counterparts.
The figures have been published by Eurostat and the Office for National Statistics and compare consumer price levels across the EU. They confirm that Britons are paying more for their alcohol than most other EU countries apart from Sweden, Finland and Ireland.
Responding to the new figures Mile Beale, WSTA chief executive said: “The government has been putting increasing pressure on consumers with continuous tax rises on wine and spirits for the past five years. Tax now accounts for 57% of the cost of a bottle of wine and 79% of a bottle of vodka.
“These figures show that British consumers are being squeezed much more than our European counterparts. At a time when cost of living increases are hitting families hard the government needs to urgently reconsider its unpopular wine and spirits duty escalator.”
In his most recent Budget chancellor George Osborne stopped the duty escalator for beer and further cut beer duty by 1p per pint, but the escalator, which was introduced by former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, remains in place for wine and spirits.