Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

London restaurateurs call for wine duty cut

Published:  07 January, 2020

The government is facing growing calls from the drinks trade for action on wine duty in its upcoming Budget on 11 March.

Six leading London restaurateurs have signed a joint letter written to Simon Clark, the Exchequer secretary, blaming declining wine sales in the on-trade on the disproportionate rises in tax on wine in recent years.

Duty on wine has increased by 12% since 2014, while duty on spirits has risen 2% and duty on beer has fallen by 0.2%.

The group cite data that shows sales of wine to have fallen by 4.6% or £146m in the last year, with the sale of still wine down by 7.7%.

“Unfair duty on wine is adding to the many other pressures on the hospitality industry at present. Continual hikes to wine duty are making it more expensive for consumers, and indeed for some prohibitive, to enjoy wine in restaurants and bars,” the letter says.

“We are experiencing first-hand how the hospitality industry is being hit by this fall in wine sales, with businesses in the sector being put at increasing risk of failure. Not only do closures have a direct impact through job losses, but there is also a knock-on impact on the entire supply chain for the failed restaurant.

“Cutting wine duty will not only benefit consumers and the wine industry, but will also provide a much-needed lifeline to the UK’s struggling hospitality sector.”

The signatories to the letter are: Richard Bigg, managing director, Camino; Mark Derry, chief executive, Brasserie Bar Co; Razak Helalat, director, The Coal Shed and The Salt Room;

Jeremy King, chief executive, Corbin & King; Mark Quick, wine director, Hawksmoor Group; and Charlie Young, director, Vinoteca.

Their call has been echoed by wine writer and Harpers columnist Joe Fattorini. In a statement on behalf of Wine Drinkers UK, a pressure group comprised of industry organisations and consumers which campaigns against wine duty, he said: “With the date set for the new government’s first Budget, Wine Drinkers UK is calling for a fairer deal for the 33 million wine drinkers in the UK.

“Despite the fact that wine is the nation’s favourite drink, a cut to wine duty at this year’s Budget would be the first in over 35 years – with tax on wine having risen twice as fast beer in the past decade.

It’s time for the new government to give consumers a break and cut back wine tax.”