The latest figures from HMRC show that the £270m windfall from alcohol duty in the six months to July following November’s freeze represented a 5% increase on last year, with £165m of this – or 61% – coming from the sale of wine and spirits.
Off the back of this, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has called on the Treasury to continue the duty freeze in the upcoming Budget.
However, Chancellor Philip Hammond is said to be planning to increase excise duty by a projected inflationary rise of 3.4%.
WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “A freeze to alcohol duty is a win-win-win for the Treasury, the wine and spirit trade and consumers – our Budget submission makes this case clearly to the Chancellor.
“Philip Hammond chose to freeze alcohol duty in November for good reason, as he rightly recognised that consumers are feeling financial strain, and acknowledged the need to show support to our great British pubs.
“His strategy was a sound one and he landed a windfall for Government coffers too.
“With Brexit looming, the pressures on British businesses and consumers are only increasing. A freeze would help ease the uncertainty and disruption heading our way in 2019.
“We are asking Philip Hammond to support British consumers, pubs and the wider hospitality trade by giving us a for a fair freeze for all.”
The WSTA has drafted a Budget submission document, shortly to be submitted to the Treasury, highlighting that a further freeze on duty for all alcohol products will help the industry realise its potential.
The organisation is also encouraging members and the public to lobby MPs to highlight what it deems to be an unbalanced tax policy.