UK’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has come up with a three-point plan to ease the burden on wine and spirit businesses due to coronavirus (Covid-19).

The plan was outlined in its letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The trade organisation has urged the Chancellor to provide the wider hospitality supply chain businesses with the same support offered to pubs, bars and restaurants.

These businesses, which are considered to be ineligible for most of the government’s support, have suffered from almost zero demand.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “We have welcomed the Chancellor’s efforts to date to help businesses and those they employ navigate the chaos that Coronavirus has wrought, but that much of the promised support has so far come in the form of loans that are proving hard to access, take valuable time, and must eventually be paid back.

“Many businesses see these measures as providing nothing more than a stay of execution. The Chancellor needs to go further still.”

Additionally, WSTA has asked the government to incorporate value-added tax (VAT) approach to excise duty and a duty deferment scheme implementation.

Beale added: “Government urgently needs to introduce measures to help businesses tackle the single biggest immediate challenge: cashflow.

“Our proposals to implement a blanket excise duty deferment scheme and to allow wine and spirit businesses to put the stock back into duty suspense would help alleviate the cashflow crisis immediately.”

“It was disappointing that our calls for an urgent suspension of duty payments for at least six months were overlooked last week, and many of the businesses we represent have had to settle a large bill whilst knowing their ability to trade will be severely restricted for the foreseeable future. We would urge Chancellor Rishi Sunak to look again at this area and take steps to offer our sector the support it needs.”