Belfast Telegraph

Budget: Chancellor Hammond urged to slash duty on fizz

By Staff Reporter

A record-breaking volume of sparkling wine was sold in UK shops and supermarkets at Christmas with over 40 million bottles flying off the shelves.

The end-of-year sparkling wine sales show stores made £270m in the three-month run-up to Christmas, up 10% on the same period in 2015, according to the latest market report from the Wine And Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

And the WSTA called on the Chancellor Philip Hammond to reduce wine and spirit duty in tomorrow’s Budget.

“We are calling on the Chancellor to cut wine and spirit duty by 2% at the Budget on Wednesday.

“This would benefit our industry, the consumer and boost Treasury coffers, just as it did two years ago.”

WSTA said a further five million bottles were sold in pubs, bars and restaurants during the 12 weeks to December 31, 2016, worth £127m, up 37% on last year.

The combined on and off trade sales of sparkling wine was over 45 million bottles, up 54% in five years, when during the same period in 2012 sales reached short of 21 million bottles, the WSTA said.

In total, sparkling wine (not including champagne) sold 995,000 hectolitres, the equivalent of 132 million bottles, in shops, bars and restaurants during 2016, worth over £1.2bn.

The sales of sparkling wine means the Chancellor received a tax windfall of around £468m last year, the WSTA said.

If duty paid on champagne is added, this takes the amount paid into the Treasury to over £0.5bn

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine And Spirit Trade Association, said: “The UK saw the largest ever quarterly sales of sparkling wine at the end of last year but with price rises looming we need government support to ensure that the bubble doesn’t burst when it comes to the British drinkers’ love for fizz.”

Belfast Telegraph