At the end of a long working week, many Brits will sit down to a well-deserved drink this evening.
UK consumers currently pay nearly 80 per cent tax on an average bottle of spirits, and nearly 60 per cent on a bottle of wine. Since 2008, wine taxation has increased by 54 per cent, and the Chancellor’s take of spirits has gone up by 44 per cent.
But these punishingly high taxes don’t just hit consumers.
The wine and spirits industry is worth £22 billion annually to the British economy, and the UK ‘alcohol industry’ – from distilleries to pubs – supports around 2 million jobs in the direct and indirect supply chain.
Britain’s wine and spirits industry is flourishing. Scotch whiskies have never been more popular, gin is enjoying a resurgence, and perhaps most excitingly of all there are now 470 commercial vineyards in the UK. There were stories in the press this week that vineyards in Sussex, in a sign of the growing quality of wine in the UK, are petitioning the EU for “protected status” – putting it in the same class as Champagne and Bordeaux!
With one budget left before the election, the Chancellor should give Brits a much-needed break and allow us to enjoy a dram or a glass without crushingly high taxes, the highest in Europe. But he should also give one of our world-leading industries a chance to prosper.
That’s why we’ve partnered with a variety of other organisations to call for the Chancellor to ‘Drop the Duty’ – and we’re asking you for help. If you can spare two minutes, please email your MP via droptheduty.com and contribute your voice to the campaign.