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WSTA calls for further cut to UK duty

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is to launch a campaign calling on the UK government to cut alcohol duty by a “modest” 2% in the 2015 budget.

Miles Beale

At the group’s annual conference yesterday chief executive Miles Beale said he believed they were not “asking for the world” and that a 2% cut to duty was “modest”.

Currently the UK accounts for 38.8% of all alcohol duty paid by consumers in European markets.

He said the proposed cut would help “free the shackles” holding back the industry, support growth and help it reach its potential.

The push comes following the group’s successful Call Time of Duty campaign last year which saw the government scrap the controversial alcohol duty escalator which since its introduction in 2008 saw tax on wine increase by 50% and by 44% on spirits.

The campaign’s success, Beale said, had produced a credible evidence base and proven the WSTA to be a “reliable partner that can deliver results”.

Addressing delegates at the conference in London yesterday Beale said: “We want a deal that will further free the shackles around this industry, support growth and allow us to reach our potential. We need to be able to compete on a part with other countries.”

He added: “We have an opportunity to make the case for a rebalancing of the duty system and we are in a far better position than we were 12 months ago to build on this progress.”

Beale called upon the industry to once again support their campaign by lobbying their MPs, adding that English wine producers in particular were “best placed” to make the argument against the unfairness of the current duty system.

The WSTA will be devising its own industry manifesto ahead of the 2015 election with which to lobby MPs and parties and a dedicated website will be set up in due course to co-ordinate the campaign and allow industry members to directly email their respective MPS.

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