AN angry wine producer has hit out over the Budget – saying scrapping the beer duty escalator has done nothing to help them.
George Osborne slashed 1p off a pint of beer and ended the “much hated”
duty escalator on Wednesday, but ignored measures to help the rest of the drinks industry.
It means inflation-busting hikes on wines and spirits will kick into force from April, with duty going up 5.3 per cent, adding 10p to a bottle of wine and 53p to a litre bottle of spirits.
Sandy Barker, who runs Tiltridge Farm Vineyard in Upper Hook Road, Upton-upon-Severn, said: “Our overheads are high and we haven’t got large economies of scale.
“Ten pence is an awful lot.
We find customers do pay direct because they like an English bottle of wine and it’s a quality product.
“But it’s selling to the rest of the trade where we are finding it very hard. I think it should be challenged.”
The Wine and Spirit Association has said it “makes little sense” to single out beer, and says there may be a legal precedent suggesting the Government could be challenged on the move.
But the British Beer & Pub Association has challenged that, saying there is no reason why beer must be treated the same as other alcohol for tax purposes.
Mr Osborne said the Budget was aimed at “putting more money in people’s pockets”, adding the beer duty escalator being axed would help with that aim.
He also said it was aimed at averting the pub crisis, which has seen 10,000 close in the last decade.
For wine, spirits and other alcoholic drinks, the existing duty escalator means taxation will rise two per cent above the RPI inflation rate,