UK trade association highlights Irish Budget cut

The recent Budget decision not to raise excise on alcohol has been held out by the UK’s Wine & Spirit Trade Association (representing UK producers and retailers) as recognition that high alcohol tax unfairly hits consumers and jobs.

The WSTA believes it’s time for the UK to take similar action.

The decision, following years of “damaging duty increases”, which was welcomed by the industry here, was also welcomed by the WSTA who hopes that the UK government will take note.

“Like Ireland, the UK has some of the highest rates of alcohol duty in Europe,” states the WSTA, “Per capita, UK consumers pay £154 in alcohol duty or £10 billion overall, the second-highest in the EU and 2.8 times the per capita average of £55.

“This means that UK consumers are footing the bill for almost 40% of all alcohol duty paid by consumers across EU member states – and more than Germany, France, Poland, Italy and Spain combined. At 10%, or just over €3billion, the member state which pays the second-biggest percentage is Germany – a fraction of what UK consumers pay in comparison.”

The UK pays 67% of all wine duties in the EU, 43% of sparkling wine duties and a quarter of all spirits duties.

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale emphasised, “UK consumers still pay very high levels of alcohol duty compared to their European neighbours. Further action to rebalance the duty burden would benefit UK consumers and the wider hospitality industry by supporting jobs and growth. This is why we will shortly be launching an industry-wide campaign calling for fairer tax on wine and spirits”.

Peter O’Brien, Chairman of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland here, had earlier pointed out that the current excise level in this country is uncompetitive and that while the Budget announcement represents an important first step in supporting this industry, he’s calling on the government to reverse the excise increases of recent years in next year’s budget.


Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free