London restaurateurs call for cut in wine tax

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

London restaurateurs call for cut in wine tax

Related tags: Wine, Restaurant

A group of London restaurant directors have written to the Government calling for a cut in wine taxes to help struggling hospitality businesses.

Signatories include Corbin & King CEO Jeremy King, Vinoteca director Charlie Young, Hawksmoor wine director Mark Quick, Camino managing director Richard Bigg, The Coal Shed's director Razak Helalat, and Brasserie Bar Co CEO Mark Derry.

The group is calling for an end to the ‘unfair’ treatment of wine at the next Budget, which will take place on 11 March.

Wine has seen a duty hike of 12% since 2014, compared to 2% for spirits and a 0.2% decrease for beer.

Tax on beer, cider and spirits was frozen in 2019 under plans introduced by former Chancellor Philip Hammond,​ but wine duty continued to rise in line with inflation.

The restaurant directors say this has led to a fall in wine sales. HMRC Alcohol Bulletin figures released in October 2019​ showed that wine duty receipts for the previous six months were down 2.1% year-on-year.

The directors write: “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.

"In our view, a fairer tax deal for wine – and the 33m hard-working people who drink wine - is long overdue, and we urge [the Government] to address this imbalance at the next Budget.

"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."

A Treasury spokesperson told BigHospitality​: “We recognise the importance of the wine industry, which is why we froze wine duty in 2015 and 2017.”

Related topics: Legislation

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