Chancellor George Osborne is being urged to cut duty on wine and spirits by 2%, with a campaign claiming it would remove an unfair tax burden of British drinkers and give a £1.5bn boost to the public finances in 2015.

Research by Ernst & Young, commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) and Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), is being used to back their ‘Drop the Duty!’ campaign, in advance of the next budget in March.

Unveiled today at The Punch Tavern, in London’s Fleet Street and supported by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the campaign will seek to highlight how UK consumers currently pay nearly 80% tax on an average priced bottle of spirits and almost 60% on an average priced bottle of wine.

The EY report claimed a 2% duty cut would increase the wine and spirits industry’s contribution to economic activity by £3.9bn, from £46.6bn to £50.4bn.

The industry’s direct contribution to UK Gross Domestic Product would increase by £0.9bn, from £11.8bn to £12.7bn, it added.

The trade bodies are hoping to win a further victory from the government, after last year’s successful campaign to persuade Osborne to abolish the alcohol duty escalator.

“By cutting the duty on wine and spirits at the next Budget the Chancellor would provide welcome relief for the British public, boost jobs and growth and generate an additional £1.5bn for the public finances,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA. 

David Frost, chief executive of the SWA added: “If you buy a bottle of Scotch Whisky to celebrate Christmas and New Year, nearly 80% of the average price you pay goes straight to the Government. This is unfair on both consumers and the Scotch Whisky industry and we are calling for George Osborne to do the right thing.”