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UK government suspends ‘no-deal Brexit’ wine paperwork

The UK government has confirmed it will temporarily suspend import certification requirements – known as VI-1 forms - for wines from the EU, for nine months from the date of the UK leaving the EU.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has heralded this as a victory for business and consumers.

Earlier in the year Whitehall had agreed to suspend these requirements, but then made a U-turn on the decision in September.

The paperwork was to be introduced if the UK agreed to a no-deal Brexit, and applied to EU wines coming into the UK, as well as English wines exported to EU countries.

The WSTA had been urging the government to suspend them again, as it claimed failure to do so would cost the UK wine industry at least £70 million a year. It also warned that introducing VI-1s would have been impossible from the start, and would have added 10p to each bottle of wine.

‘The Government’s actions are a victory for common sense and will be met with a sense of relief by the UK wine industry as the threat of a £70 million bill has been removed,’ said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.

‘As we made clear in our lengthy discussions with Government officials, the additional form-filling and laboratory tests needed had paperwork requirements not been suspended would have added a massive burden on businesses and consumers alike.’

However, the WSTA is also urging the government to do more for wine drinkers.

‘In the upcoming Budget on 6 November they should listen to the WSTA and some 33 million Brits who drink wine, and cut wine duty by 2%. This would be the first Government to cut still-wine tax since Nigel Lawson was Chancellor in 1984.’

See also: Christmas and Brexit prompt Champagne stockpile in the UK

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