UK’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has called on the Chancellor for a cut in alcohol duty to help businesses in the country thrive and compete in the global market.

WSTA said that the high duty rates in the country are preventing investments in the sector after Brexit.

The trade organisation said that the alcohol industry in the UK is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe and countries such as Germany, Spain and Italy have implemented a zero-duty rate on wine, while France confined the duty rate to 3p.

UK drinkers currently pay £2.23 on duty per bottle of still wine, £2.86 on a bottle of sparkling wine and £8.05 for every bottle of spirit with 40% alcohol by volume (ABV).

The WSTA alleged that the duty is so high in the UK that 55% of the average priced bottle of wine and 73% of an average priced bottle of spirits, at 40% ABV, sold in shops and supermarkets is now taken by the Treasury in terms of tax and VAT.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The UK‘s punishingly high duty rates are stifling home-grown wine and spirit businesses as well as acting as a deterrent to attracting investment.

“A duty cut would provide the UK’s wine and spirit businesses the breathing space needed to recover from the Covid pandemic and the almost complete shutdown for the UK’s hospitality sector – the drinks’ industry’s shop window – allowing them time to plan for growth, including innovation and exploring new opportunities.

“And from experience, we also know that duty cuts often lead to increased revenue for the Exchequer – from both VAT and duty receipts.”

Earlier this month, UK’s wine and spirit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) asked for a cut on wine and spirit duty and extend hospitality’s value-added tax (VAT) cut to the alcoholic drinks sector.