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UK alcohol tax would alienate middle class

The UK government risks losing middle class voters if it raises taxes on alcohol, says market research firm Wine Intelligence.

The results of a study prepared for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) indicate that 74% of UK regular wine drinkers believe the current taxes on alcohol are already too high.

The WSTA commissioned the study in response to mounting efforts by anti-alcohol organisations who are lobbying for higher taxes as a way of dealing with problem drinking.

‘The public don’t want tax rises on alcohol full stop,’ said Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA.

‘What people do want is a targeted campaign to deal with problem drinkers through better enforcement of existing laws,k and more education.’

The study also revealed that 31% of participants would travel abroad more frequently to purchase their drink if taxes were increased by another £0.25 per bottle of still wine or £0.50 per bottle of spirits.

Likewise, nearly all respondents said that extended opening hours had not encouraged them to go to pubs and bars more often, or to consume more alcohol.

The Wine Intelligence survey was conducted online between 16 and 21 November. A full report is available at www.wsta.co.uk/images/stories/decconintelltaxation.pdf

Written by Maggie Rosen

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