Alfriston winemaker backs calls to end ‘unfair tax system’

A wine producer in Alfriston is supporting the calls to end the current tax system on sparkling wines.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 9:26 am

The sparkling wine sector is currently subject to 30 per cent higher taxes compared to still wines, making sparkling wine the most highly taxed product per unit, according to Wine Drinkers UK.

Wine Drinkers UK – a group that represents wine makers, sellers and customers – is leading the campaign to cut the ‘sparkling supertax’.

A statement from Wine Drinkers UK said it’s an ‘unfair tax system that is crippling the English wine industry’ and removing the tax could ‘boost the UK economy at a time when producers, suppliers and consumers nationwide are building back from the pandemic’.

Mark Driver

This tax system has caused the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) and winemakers like Mark Driver to speak out and support the campaign during English Wine Week.

Mr Driver, co-ower of Rathfinny Estate, said, “It’s astonishing that we pay 30 per cent higher excise duty on sparkling wine.

“Scrapping this sparkling surcharge would not only give UK producers like us a much-needed boost but it would also directly benefit wine drinkers who enjoy a glass of home-grown fizz.

“I would love sparkling wine to receive more support from the UK Government so that we can compete effectively with our European counterparts, some of whom benefit from zero-duty rate on their sparkling wines.”

Rathfinny Estate Vineyard

John O’Connell, from TPA, said, “Hospitality and leisure have been battered by the pandemic and English Wine Week is a perfect time to remind politicians that these industries need a helping hand, not least by simplifying the system to prevent punishing higher rates slapped on products like sparkling wine.

“What’s more, TPA research shows that if the temporary VAT reduction to five per cent was extended beyond September to April 2023, it could save the UK hospitality sector and consumers £15.7 billion.

“That’s why the government should keep the tax cut in place, and include alcoholic drinks within its scope, to give British businesses and drinkers a break.”

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Picking time at Rathfinny Estate