News & Views From the World of Wine - and sometimes further afield.. from WineDrop.co.uk
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
It has been pointed out by Steve Parfett of the wholesaler of the same name that instead of minimum pricing it would be much more logical to standardise duty and bring it into line with the spirit system. Here alcoholic strength is multiplied by volume to work out the duty payable. Other alcoholic duty rates are based on bands and styles. This change would standardise the rate per unit of alcohol. Currently cider and perry pay easily the lowest rates of duty whilst wine at the top of the wine duty rate band (5.5%-15%) pays less per unit than the lower alcohol wines at the bottom. If minimum pricing is the aim then the duty rates should be sorted out first. This would also have the added advantage of not being able to be considered (so far at least!) an EU restraint of trade and avoid the legal shenanigans that would be involved. We live in hope..