UK chancellor Philip Hammond has frozen duty tax on wine, spirits and beer in his latest Budget, shrugging off the 'scrooge' label bestowed on him by the drinks industry earlier this week.

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UK chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that duty on wine, beers, spriirs and most ciders will be frozen.

Earlier this week, The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) had called for Hammond ‘to not be a ‘Scrooge’ this Christmas’ and freeze duty on wine and spirits to be frozen in the November budget.

UK Budget 2017

The WSTA urged Hammond not be a ‘Scrooge’ this year. Credit: WSTA.

‘We are pleased that the Chancellor has found his festive spirit,’ said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA. A freeze will save the industry £247 million, the trade body added.

‘He has shown the Government is in touch with what consumers want and is supporting an industry which is proving to be a real asset to British business,’ Beale said.

Only high alcohol ‘white ciders’ are to face an increase in duty in this budget, in an attempt to battle excess alcohol consumption in the UK.

The freeze on other drinks was a move to ‘back our great British pubs’, said Hammond in his speech.

However, wine prices have still risen to record levels in the UK this year, driven higher by earlier duty tax rises in-line with inflation and also a weaker pound making it more expensive to import wines from some countries.

How much is tax on wine?

 

UK budget 2017

How much is tax on wine? Credit: WSTA

Previous budgets

In the March 2017 Budget, duty had already risen in-line with inflation, when trade bodies had lobbied for a 2% cut. The WSTA had urged the Treasury not to ‘punish’ wine drinkers.