focus on wine, glass of wine red white and rose

The wine and spirits industry has called on the Treasury to cut duties on its products by a 2%, after they added almost £200m to the public purse in nine months.

The latest figures from HMRC show Exchequer revenue from wine from April to December 2015 jumped 4% year on year, growing by £114m, while spirits also earned an extra 4%, or £96m.

If the rate of growth were to continue, wine duties would reach a record-breaking £4bn in a single year, and spirit duties would hit £3.1bn for the first time, according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

WSTA chairman Denis O’Flynn and chief executive Miles Beale met with Treasury exchequer secretary Damian Hinds MP to argue that a 2% reduction on duties would help create more jobs, encourage investment, expand exports and a secure a better deal for consumers.

Duties have been frozen or reduced in the most recent two Budgets. Wine duty currently stands at £2.05p for a 75cl bottle - the second-highest in the EU after Ireland - while the charge on a 70cl bottle of gin (40% abv) is £7.75.

“The wine and spirit industry has faced difficult trading conditions over the past few years, seeing sales and revenues decline, which has impacted on its ability to create jobs and to invest,” said Beale.

“Our request to the Chancellor is therefore very simple: to build on his admirable decisions at the past two March Budgets and move away from some of the highest excise duty rates in the EU.”

O’Flynn added: “The UK’s wine and spirit industry as a whole supports nearly 600,000 jobs in the UK and contributes £45bn in economic activity. Further support for wine and spirits will bring more jobs, grow exports and allow our great British products to compete in the fiercely competitive global marketplace.”