MPs call for a freeze on wine tax

  • Tuesday 24 March 2009

The British government is being urged to freeze duty on wine because it is damaging the drinks industry, in a report released today.

The new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Wine and Spirit Group, which consists of politicians with an interest in the industry, highlights the damage last year’s tax rises have had on the industry.

The All-Party Group committee, which included Decanter editor Guy Woodward as an advisor, met at the House of Commons in February to discuss the impact the recent tax increases have had on the wine trade and to quiz prominent members of the industry.

With a planned 2%-above-inflation tax escalator set to be implemented next month, the All-Party group is urging the Government to rethink its policy.

‘It would be nice to think that the government would listen to this advice and take it on board,’ says Woodward of the report.

‘By imposing two tax rises last year, the government has driven consumers to lower price points, and lower quality wines which – regrettably – some high street retailers have embraced all too willingly, through shameful discounting.

‘If tax was frozen, it would achieve two things: encourage retailers to stock better wines; and provide some good news for consumers, thus giving them confidence to start buying such wines. That way, it would keep both parties happy.’

The All-Party Group will submit the report to the Government tonight. Visit decanter.com tomorrow for the full story.

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