BBPA rebukes calls for wine and spirit duty cut

By Liam Coleman

- Last updated on GMT

Duty request: the WSTA wants a cut in wine and spirit duty
Duty request: the WSTA wants a cut in wine and spirit duty

Related tags Beer duty cut Alcoholic beverage Uk

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has dismissed the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)'s calls for a cut in wine and spirit duty at the upcoming Budget and reiterated its own call for cuts to beer duty.

The WSTA has argued that a cut to beer duty in March's Budget would only be a "job half done" for supporting pubs because of the importance of wine and spirits to the pub industry, citing figures that show that wine and spirit sales in the pub have increased by 11% since 2012.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: "While the Government has focused on beer cuts previously to support British pubs, the reality is that this is only a job half done. Wine and spirits are ever more important to the British pub, and the Chancellor can do his bit to support them and landlords by cutting wine and spirits duty by 2%.

"British pubs represent the heart and soul of a community as well as being a significant employer in the UK, supporting a workforce of 577,000. While we are seeing 23 pubs closing a week we cannot stress how crucial it is for Government to recognise how important the UK wine and spirit sector is to jobs, communities and the economy.

"But with higher inflation, the impact of the devaluation of the pound and the potential for duty increases, the pubs industry faces a potential triple whammy that will be devastating for the trade in 2017.

"Our new economic report shows that a 2% cut would boost the wine and spirits industry economic contribution by £2.9bn and also boost Treasury revenues by £368m. There is no better time for the Government to support British pubs and make the cut to wine and spirits duty."

Beer duty cut 'most effective'

However, the BBPA did not echo the WSTA's argument saying that a cut in beer duty​ remained the "most effective option" to support pubs.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds told The Morning Advertiser​: "Everyone understandably wants lower taxes for their own products, but the fact remains that to deliver the most help to pubs, a cut in beer duty is the most effective option. This is because two thirds of alcoholic drinks sales in pubs are beer.

"Furthermore, when it comes to UK production, 82% of UK beer sales are made in Britain, compared with less than 1% of wine. As a home-grown product, and with so much sold in the labour-intensive pub trade as opposed to supermarkets, this means that beer continues to have a much bigger positive impact on the UK economy, on UK jobs, and on pubs, than any other drink. 

"This is why a beer duty cut should be the top priority."

Related topics Wine Spirits & Cocktails

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