UNN via Twitter

UK industry group pens open letter urging government to rethink alcohol duty

15 November, 2022

A group of over 100 UK drink industry figures have signed a letter written to The Times urging the chancellor to rethink its decision to reverse the alcohol duty freeze.

The letter with a total of 116 signatories including UKHospitality, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, and Scotch Whisky Association, claims the decision will result in a double-digit tax increase that will lead to higher prices and put thousands of jobs at risk.

The letter said: “The government’s decision to reverse the alcohol duty freeze will result in a double-digit tax increase that unnecessarily fuels inflation, leads to higher prices for consumers and to thousands of jobs being put at risk.

“Over the past five years, during a stable period for alcohol duty, government income from taxing alcohol has increased by 18 per cent. Despite the challenges of Brexit, the pandemic and disruption to global supply chains, our sector has provided increased revenue to the Exchequer because of, not in spite of, duty freezes.”

The UK government had cancelled the freeze, due to come into effect from February 2023, less than a month after the policy was announced in the mini-budget.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “This could not have come at a worse time for the alcohol trade with bars and restaurants, producers and suppliers still reeling from pandemic lockdowns and having to manage ever-increasing costs and global supply chain issues.

“Cash-strapped consumers will be picking up the bill with prices of their favourite drinks set to soar next year. We are calling on Jeremy Hunt to throw us a lifeline, there is still time to bring back the duty freeze.

“History has shown that freezing alcohol duty does not negatively impact on Treasury coffers, over the past five years during a stable period for alcohol duty, government income from taxing alcohol has increased by 18% – because of, not despite, duty freezes.”





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