Food & Drink

UK wine industry looks to Osborne for ray of sunshine

Wine Bottle - Reduce excise duty on wine by 2% following on from freeze last year - SantanderCB

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has called on Chancellor George Osborne to reduce excise duty on wine by 2%, following up on a freeze last year which the trade body says encouraged more sales and garnered an extra £118m in tax revenue within 10 months. Chapel Down winery in Kent has backed the request ahead of the Budget, arguing that the UK's relatively high wine duty compared to the rest of Europe acts as a barrier to innovation and growth. Michael Saunders, chief executive of the independent drinks distributor Bibendum PLB, believes the duty is holding back Britain's drinks industry, particularly at a time when production of wine in the UK is booming, creating even more investment, jobs and potential for export. Saunders also wants the government to put money towards research and development in order to build on expertise in fruit growing and horticulture which has been nurtured in Kent. Another suggestion from Saunders to help small companies such as Chapel Down is to have wine duty collected at the point of sale, which he says would put the burden on supermarket giants with a greater capacity to absorb such costs. British vintners produced 6.3m bottles in 2014 and hope to double that to around 12m in 2020. Over the same period, they are aiming for a tenfold increase in exports to £30m.


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