Wine and Spirit drinkers get shirty with the Chancellor
We’ve already discussed how unpopular
the Chancellor the Autumn Statement is proving, and now poor Mr Osborne is the namesake of a new campaign launched by the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WTSA), called “Be Fair George”. Although sounding more like an Ealing Comedy, the campaign is actually deadly serious, and alleges discriminatory practices by the Government. Why should unrefined beer drinkers get their tipple cheaper than more sophisticated drinkers?
The main thrust of the campaign is to ask the Government to scrap the wine and spirits duty escalators in the same way that the beer one has been dumped- after all, it’s only fair. Next week, the campaign will launch a consumer website that aims to “galvanise” average wine and spirits drinkers to go and badger their MP, the Treasury and anyone else who will listen.
The WSTA claim that, if the escalator escalates next year as planned, a bottle of spirits will be 80% duty, with 60% of the cost of wine also distasteful duty , increases of 44% and 50% in duty since the escalator began in 2008. In the UK, we have the second highest level of wine duty and the fourth highest level of spirits duty.
The escalator, which was introduced by the previous Government, expires after 2014 anyway, and while there has been no announcement on any replacement duty strategy, WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale is urging the Chancellor to consider the considerable proportion of the population who only drink wine and spirits who are struggling with costs of living increases just as much as the beer drinkers. Time will tell whether the campaign will be successful, or if George is only interested in his own version of a beer-swilling everyman…