UK distilleries urge Chancellor to cut alcohol duty and spark hiring spree

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

UK spirits firms have said they will launch a hiring spree if the Government cuts alcohol duty in next month’s Budget.

The UK Spirit Alliance trade body called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to slash the duty in order to spark investment among companies in the sector.

It said that over 1,000 new jobs could be created by the 563 UK distilleries if a reduction to the tax is realised.

Current spirit duty means that £28.74 is paid per litre of pure alcohol, meaning that a litre bottle of 40% ABV vodka would face £11.50 in the tax.

UK Spirits Alliance said 79% of firms said they want to hire more staff and would use money saved through a duty cut towards this.

Meanwhile, around 14% of surveyed firms said they would put money towards new product investment.

Nigel Mills, chief executive of the Lakes Distillery, said: “Government support in the form of an alcohol duty cut would give us more capital to invest in new staff, as we look to grow our presence and brand.

“We export to markets all over the world, and a cut would allow us to help encourage growth and job creation nationally.”

It comes after a 28% surge in the number of new distilleries in 2020, as 124 more firms were set up despite the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for the UK Spirits Alliance said: “Spirits producers up and down the UK are desperate to grow their businesses, and it’s really encouraging to see producers are overwhelmingly supportive of investing even further to create new jobs.

“We’re calling on the Chancellor to back spirits in the upcoming Budget, allowing our members to hire more staff and drive further investment into our iconic industry, as well as generating bigger receipts for HM Treasury.”

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