The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is calling on the government to cut alcohol duty as booze is set to hit record prices over the festive period.
The Chancellor is set to raise alcohol duty by the Retail Price Index (RPI) which is at 4.8%.
A 4.8% increase would see average duty plus VAT increases of 2.5p for a pint of 4% beer and 16p for a bottle of sparkling wine.
It would mean that now, for every bottle of average priced spirit (at 40% ABV) purchased a 73%, or £10.37, goes straight to the Treasury on duty plus VAT. For an average priced bottle of still wine 55%, £3.20, goes on duty and VAT.
The WSTA has made comparisons with Spain, where shoppers pay 21% VAT on alcohol, but don’t have to pay any duty on wine, sparkling wine, champagne, sherry or cider. The duty that Spanish consumers pay on spirits is less than half the amount that in Britain.
“Comparing the wine and spirit tax regime in the UK to that in Spain puts the UK’s excessively high rate of excise duty firmly in the spotlight,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.
“The Chancellor can ease the financial pain for everyone who is hoping to make up for all the missed family gatherings and last year’s cancelled Christmas by not raising alcohol duty.
“Freezing wine and spirit duty at the Budget will also give British businesses a much-needed break, which will be vital for our sector’s the road to recovery.”