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Accolade Wines boss calls for drinks industry to unite against "crushing tax regime"

By Robyn Black , 27-Nov-2012
Last updated on 28-Nov-2012 at 11:44 GMT2012-11-28T11:44:09Z

Schaafsma said rising UK taxes were having an impact across drinks manufacturing and retailing.

Schaafsma said rising UK taxes were having an impact across drinks manufacturing and retailing.

The boss of the UK’s biggest wine company has issued a challenge for all drinks companies to unite in a call for “common sense over alcohol duty.”

With the Government alcohol strategy consultation due out this week, Accolade Wines’ general manger for UK, Ireland and AMESCA (Americas Middle East SubContinent Africa) Paul Schaafsma, said the industry had to start acting with one voice.

“We recognise the beer industry for its high-profile campaign to end the duty escalator but the tax regime doesn’t only affect brewing but has an impact across the drinks retailing and manufacturing landscape,” he said.

Schaafsma said the alcohol market as a whole in the UK is now worth £37.6bn, the equivalent in GDP as Croatia and that wine alone was the equivalent of the GDP of Jamaica. The industry was very important to the UK overall, he said.

“Relentless tax increases are crippling an industry that provides thousands of jobs and contributes significantly to the national economy and local communities,” he said.

“In recent months we have seen the demise of major drinks companies including WaverleyTBS, D&D Wines and Stratford’s due to the difficult trading environment and crushing tax regime.

“The government must re-think this policy if it is serious about backing UK businesses, creating jobs and driving growth – not decline.”

He also highlighted figures that showed tax now accounting for 60% of the price of a bottle of wine and that, since 2002, 80% of the rise in wine pricing has been from alcohol duty increases.

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