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Wine tax poll is bad news for Rishi Sunak’s bid to be PM

With the next Prime Minister due to be decided in September, YouGov polling has revealed that three quarters of Conservative party members do not want taxes on wine to increase.

Credit: Instagram/ skynewspolitics

Breaking down the data, it was shown that 52% favoured keeping wine tax at the current rate, while 25% wanted to see it reduced. 80% of those polled also wanted lower rates of duty for smaller British wine producers, though the parameters of what defines a ‘small’ producer have not been provided.

The survey showed that 45% chose wine as their drink of choice, compared to 28% for beer and 23% for spirits, suggesting that wine pricing is an issue with some weight for the membership.

More than 1,000 Conservative party members were surveyed across the UK – these same individuals are currently involved in the decision of who will be the next Conservative party leader, and therefore Prime Minister.

Recent YouGov polling suggests that more than twice as many members favour Liz Truss over Sunak, with the former gaining momentum after a slow start in the hustings.

The preference for lower taxes among the membership is yet more bad new for the ex-Chancellor’s leadership bid, as he proposed a 27 band taxation system for wine in last year’s Autumn Statement, a system which would would increase duties on all still wine over 11.5% ABV. The survey found that 61% of the Tory membership was against these duty hikes.

Miles Beale, CEO of the Wine & Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), argued that the unpopularity of raising taxes on wine was “clear” among the Conservative Party’s membership: “Taxing wines by degree will push up the price of the nation’s favourite drink. However, the new Chancellor could avoid this with a simple change: two bands for wine, taxed at the midpoint. This would be simple, workable and keep prices down for consumers – as well as ensuring the UK market remains an attractive place to sell wine.”

Beale concluded: “We hope the new PM and their chosen Chancellor focus on reducing red tape and unnecessary tax hikes, showing they are in touch with UK consumers, who are already facing the worst cost of living crisis in decades.”

Last month, the WSTA toasted the delay to alcohol duty reform, a stark contrast to the frustration expressed by many in the hospitality industry.

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