WSTA calls for Philip Hammond to freeze alcohol duty in November budget

Alys Key
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The festive season could be more expensive if alcohol prices rise (Source: Getty)

The price of wine and spirits could be higher by Christmas if the chancellor imposes a further hike in alcohol duty, an industry body has warned.

Alcohol duty could be increased by 3.4 per cent in the November Budget, in line with RPI, according to the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA).

This would make a bottle of wine 7p more expensive, while the price of spirits would on average increase by 26p.

An increase would mark the second hike this year, after alcohol duties were raised 3.9 per cent in March, adding 8p to wine and 30p to spirits.

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The WSTA has today called for a freeze on alcohol duty, saying that a high rate would weaken the UK's negotiation position after Brexit.

“We are hearing very mixed messages from government," said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA. "On the one hand Liam Fox is championing the importance of imports to the UK.

"At the same time Philip Hammond is revving up to hit us with a second inflation busting hike in seven months in alcohol duty – making the UK less attractive to importers."

Beale added that if Philip Hammond announces "no change" to alcohol duty, this will still mean an RPI-linked rise.

The WSTA calculates that the wine and spirits industry faces a £1.9bn higher duty bill by 2022 if rises planned for the duration of Parliament go ahead.

The body has also previously said that high duties are threatening British pubs.

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