Booze to get cheaper just in time for the General Election?
Things haven't been too bad for your pocket so far in 2015- with supermarket wars meaning they are almost paying you to buy milk, and fuel prices sliding back towards £1 a litre. Still, things can always get even better, and wouldn't cheaper booze make this year worth celebrating even more?
Duty on wines, beer and spirits is normally a one-way street, with rates rising in successive Budgets, although in recent times, we have benefitted from duty freezes, meaning that prices haven't gone up just to fill the Treasury coffers. However, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) want to go one step further, and have today met with Treasury officials to argue the case for a 2% reduction in tax on wines and spirits (they aren't fussed about beer).
According to the WSTA, the UK wine and spirits industry is worth almost £45bn and delivers £14.5bn in tax revenue for the Treasury, as well as providing 600,000 jobs in the UK. The WSTA claims that a 2% reduction in tax on wine and spirits would generate a further £3 billion for the economy and £1.1bn in additional tax income. As well as making our favourite tipples just that little bit cheaper.
“Despite the fantastic contribution the UK wine and spirits industry makes to the Treasury, we have still faced a difficult climate in recent years,” commented Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive. “Sales and consumption in the UK has been in decline and the impact of seven years of the Alcohol Duty Escalator has taken its toll on producers and retailers, who have seen their margins squeeze and on consumers who have seen prices rise higher than inflation as a result.”
Of course, the mere fact of a submission does not guarantee, or even indicate that a cut in duty is on the cards for the Chancellor's next Budget in March. However, this being election season, George could probably do with a couple of extra sweeteners to help persuade the electorate round to his way of thinking, so why not promise cheaper alcohol? Would it buy your vote?