UK’s wine and spirit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have asked for a cut on wine and spirit duty and extend hospitality’s value-added tax (VAT) cut to the alcoholic drinks sector to help the businesses to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wine and spirits SMEs in the country jointly wrote a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking the government for additional support to boost British business.

SMEs, which supply wine and spirits to the hospitality sector, said that they are not eligible for the loans and support packages offered by the government to pubs, bars and restaurants.

The letter, signed by 26 Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) members, described how their businesses will be impacted if the government decides to raise taxes.

WSTA said that majority of the wine and spirit sector in the UK have been impacted by the Covid-19 virus, which forced the hospitality sector to close their business establishments.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “This Budget comes at a crucial time for British wine and spirit SMEs who have had to baton down the hatches once again as the country sits out the third lockdown without any confidence in knowing when it might end.

“The new and developing trading landscape since 1 January has also put pressure on small and medium-sized businesses who are picking up the tab for additional import costs and red tape. SMEs have worked hard, despite drastic dips to their income, to support communities through efforts like making hand sanitiser and free local deliveries.

“Britain has some of the world’s highest alcohol tax rates, and it is extremely unfair to pass on more pain to cash strapped consumers and to SMEs fighting to keep their businesses afloat. We are asking for the Chancellor’s proactive support to help SMEs – which are the backbone of a successful British industry – to build back better.”