BRITAIN’s army of distillers have written to the Chancellor calling for a freeze in spirits duty in his autumn Budget to halt the soaring cost to UK consumers.
Currently tax makes up 70p in every £1 for spirits in the UK – and the duty will rise with the higher RPI rate of inflation next April.
It makes Britain one of the highest spirit-taxing countries in the world.
In a letter to Sajid Javid a group of 40 distillers – from major global firms like Diageo and Bacardo to micro and craft distillers across the country – call for him to use his Budget to make a “fair duty system” and freeze the levy for the next three years.
And they call on the Chancellor to commit to a root-and-branch review of spirit duty in the UK to ensure Britain’s distillers are treated fairly in the tax system to help support the drinks industry’s fastest growing sectors.
They point to figures showing the number of distillers across the country has doubled in the last five years.
And according to a Survation poll that found 84 per cent of Britain’s distillers plan to increase production in the next year, 70 per cent expect to increase export sales and 60 per cent plan to hire additional staff over the next 12 months.
The letter was organised by the newly-formed UK Spirits Alliance, made up of 40 distillters across the UK and includes the Gin Co-operative, who has 80 members in Scotland – and the British Distillers Alliance, who have 120 members across the UK.
In their letter to Mr Javid they write: “In recent years, the Government has backed our industry with a stable excise duty regime.
“But despite this, spirits duty in the UK still remains among the highest in the world.
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“UK consumers pay over 70 per cent excise duty on our national drinks — the tax on a typical £14 bottle of London gin or Scotch is £10.38.
“This is a major drag on investment and growth. With that in mind, we write to ask you to support the UK Spirits Alliance campaign to fix excise duty – first by freezing it for the length of this parliament, then reforming it.”