The WSTA wants Theresa May to "empower" British drinks businesses by cutting the wine and spirit duty

Courtney Goldsmith
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Following Theresa May's long-awaited speech on Brexit, The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said the best way to "empower" the British drinks industry is a duty cut on wine and spirits.

This comes as wine industry has been hit by the impact of historically high duty rates, higher inflation and the devaluation of the pound, leading to at least £549m in further costs as the UK currency continues to slide against key markets, the group said.

A two per cent duty cut would save the UK's wine drinkers 10p per bottle and spirit drinkers 55p per litre at a critical time when inflation is rising, the group said.

Read more: Here's what experts say you'll be drinking in 2017

As well as saving money for the consumer, the cut would give the industry a £2.9bn boost to reach a record-breaking £52.6bn, the WSTA said, citing independent forecasters.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA said the duty cut would be a way for Theresa May to "empower" British business.

"This would strengthen British business, give consumers a better deal and benefit the chancellor too."

After the wine duty was frozen in 2015, the chancellor's wine duty income increased 3.6 per cent, or £136m. After a two per cent cut in 2016, the duty income increased by 4.1 per cent, or £124m over the same period. The group said a further cut this year would add another £368m in duty income.

Read more: Britain is set to become a top wine producing region by the year 2100

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