Average Christmas booze spend is 51 per cent tax

Ashley Coates
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UK households are paying 51 per cent tax on the alcohol they buy in the lead up to Christmas, according to industry body, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

The association says the average household will buy 5 bottles of wine, 3 bottle of spirits, 2 bottles of sparking wine, 2 bottles of port, 12 cider and 24 cans of beer.

The total expenditure comes to £171.66 per household, of which £88.19 is tax, significantly more than the equivalent shop would cost in France, which comes in at around £138.89, £43.29 of which is accounted for by their taxes. This means a French consumer is paying 32 per cent in tax, compared to a British consumer’s 51 per cent.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “Comparing the wine and spirit tax regime in the UK to that in France puts the UK’s high rate of excise duty firmly in the spotlight”.

All taxed included, the French shop is £45 less than the cost to the UK shopper, most of which is alcohol duty, rather than VAT.

Beale also warned that there would be no let up in the New Year, as sterling depreciation takes its toll on the value of wine in the UK.

“Earlier this year we communicated the impact that the fall in sterling’s value will have on wine prices. Thus far businesses have been able to shoulder the burden by absorbing the extra costs"

"This will be welcome for consumers, particularly in the run up to Christmas. However, in the New Year, we should be under no illusion that prices will rise. In addition, with inflation levels rising to 1.2 per cent in November, spirits prices will increase and wine will be hit again."

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