Government backs Britain’s booming wine industry in Budget

Britain’s wine producers are celebrating the announcements in today’s Budget statement that bring both alcohol duty reforms and provide business benefits to help secure the long-term sustainable growth of the industry – one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors in the UK.

Duty on sparkling wine will be levelled with that of still wine, saving 63p on every bottle of sparkling wine and providing a direct benefit to English and Welsh sparkling wine which accounts for some two-thirds of Britain’s annual production. This ends “the irrational duty premium of 28% currently paid” on bubbles over still wine of a similar or equivalent alcohol level.

The reduction in duty will allow vineyards and wineries to invest in their long-term growth and will support the future of this increasingly world-renowned premium British drinks category.

The ‘Backing British Business’ message from the Chancellor also sets out a number of advantages for small/medium business through a series of tax cuts and new opportunities through investment. Furthermore, the increased investment in the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, the Green Economy and the broader hospitality industry all point to extra support from the government for our industry.

Acknowledging the increase in the consumption of English sparkling wine alongside other imported fizz in the last decade, the Chancellor commented in his statement: “Sparkling wines wherever they are produced will have the same duty as still wines of equivalent strength, and because growing conditions in the UK typically favour lower strength and sparkling wines this means that English and Welsh wines compared with stronger imported wines will now pay less.”

These changes will come into effect in February 2023. Before then, the planned increase in duty on wine and other alcoholic drinks, as of midnight tonight, will all be cancelled, freezing the current rates of duty.

“We are delighted by the Government’s decision to equalize the duty between sparkling and still wines,” comments Simon Thorpe MW, CEO of WineGB. “This reform will have direct benefit to English and Welsh sparkling wine which accounts for some two-thirds of Britain’s annual production and will undoubtedly help to underpin our ongoing growth as one of the UK’s most exciting and fast-growing agricultural sectors. It will help us to develop wine tourism, employment and R&D initiatives and build towards a long term economically sustainable industry.”

“We also applaud the decision to freeze duty on wine and other alcoholic drinks – another boost for wine lovers.”

“WineGB works closely with the Wines of Great Britain All-Party Parliamentary Group, chaired by Andrew Griffith MP and whose members have helped to identify and highlight the support that Government can provide this industry.”

Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel & South Downs, whose constituency includes a number of vineyards and wineries, commented: “Parliamentarians in the Wine GB all party group welcomed this change which they have campaigned for to help growth and jobs in the growing domestic sparkling wine industry.”

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