London distilleries have urged the Chancellor not to hike alcohol duty at the upcoming Budget.
Spirit makers Hayman’s, Beefeater Gin, Brixton Distillery, Half Hitch Gin and East London Liquor Company, called on Rishi Sunak to help the sector be part of the pandemic recovery, in a letter shared with CityA.M.
A duty increase on October 27 would “seriously undermine” businesses helping to entice tourists to London and come at “the worst possible time.”
With consumers “already feeling the pinch” of price rises, a duty hike would “compound the challenge” for the capital’s producers, the letter said.
“Distilleries like ours are key for tourism and investment into our capital, and any tax rise will harm our ability to attract future tourists,” the makers added.
The country faces one of the highest spirits duty in the world, at 70 per cent on a bottle of Scotch Whisky.
Bosses want the Chancellor to explicitly rule out an automatic uprating of tax on spirits by RPI, as well as a freeze on excise duty.
“This rise would harm investment in our businesses, and plans to export to new markets,” bosses said.
UK spirits are behind some 450,000 jobs nationwide through supply chains and hospitality, the UK Spirits Alliance, added.
“Spirits producers across London are desperate to grow their businesses,” a spokesperson from the trade body added.
“But with the cost of living on the rise, we need the Chancellor to back spirits in the upcoming Budget. Any rise in spirits duty will significantly harm progress already made, and stunt the growth of our innovative industry, which supports tens of thousands of jobs.”