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Trade thanks MPs for scrapping tax

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association gathered with members of the trade at Westminster yesterday to thank MPs for their support in abolishing the alcohol duty escalator.

Dozens of MPs and representatives from the wine and spirits sector took part in ‘Call Time on Duty’ earlier this year – a campaign spearheaded by The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), Taxpayer’s Alliance and Scotch Whisky Association to end the alcohol duty escalator (ADE), which was finally scrapped in the 2014 Budget.

Since it was introduced in 2008, tax on wine has increased by 50% and by 44% on spirits which campaigners argued was costing the industry “vital jobs and unfairly hitting consumers in the pocket”.

At the event held yesterday, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Priti Patel MP accepted an award on behalf of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in recognition of his decision.

After presenting the award, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale said: “The Chancellor should be applauded for scrapping automatic year-on-year tax increases, which undermined the competitiveness of the industry, cost jobs and growth and hit responsible drinkers unfairly. While it will take time for the benefits of the duty changes to be realised, we expect a significant boost to jobs and investment in the sector and wider benefits for the UK economy. The wine and spirit industry already makes a significant contribution to the UK economy and society – and with continuing support, including at the next Budget, this great British industry can contribute even more.”

Previously George Osborne was presented with a framed message of gratitude on behalf of the wine and spirits industry during a meeting with Beale.

On receiving the token of thanks Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “I recognise the significant contribution the wine and spirit industry makes to the UK economy by providing employment and contributing to local communities. We need to support the community hub that is the Great British pub, including the increasing number which rely on wine and spirit sales as much as they do on sales of beer and cider. This Government believes in business because enterprise will sustain the UK’s economic recovery. I am pleased to see that the wine and spirit industry is playing its part.”

The WSTA has since launched a campaign calling on the government to further cut alcohol duty by a “modest” 2% in the 2015 budget.

Other accolades handed out at the event included one for Michael Saunders, chief executive of Bibendum, who received the Wine Campaigner of the Year award, while Denis O’Flynn, managing director of Pernod Ricard, received the Spirits Campaigner of the Year award.

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