Chancellor George Osborne froze duty on beer, cider and whisky but duty on wine and high-strength cider will rise in line with inflation from 22 March. Punch confirmed there would be no wholesale price increases on wine for at least 12 months and added that the price of ready-to-drink products would also be held.
John Healy, commercial director at Punch, said: “While we were very pleased to see duty on beer and [most] cider frozen in this year’s budget, we appreciate that the rise in duty rates for wine may be a cause for concern for many. With this in mind, we’ve taken the decision to absorb these costs ourselves, ensuring our publicans are not affected in any way.
"We are committed to supporting our publicans wherever possible and this is a further example of this.”
Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, said the wine industry was ‘disappointed’ the wine industry had been singled out for a duty increase.
“We also deeply regret that the Government has missed this important opportunity to support the emerging English wine industry, which is a real home-grown success story that needs nurturing rather than being hit by another unfair tax increase.”