The WSTA held its annual conference yesterday

The WSTA held its annual conference yesterday

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has launched a new campaign demanding a fairer taxation system in the UK and an end to the duty escalator.

The “Be Fair, George” campaign will ask the UK Chancellor, George Osborne, to scrap an annual excise increase that has raised the duty on wines and spirits by about 50% since 2008. Osborne removed beer from the escalator in last year's Budget while taking GBP0.01 of the price of a pint.

“Given the Government’s concession that the impact of the duty escalator on beer was bad for pubs, the escalator concept itself is now damaged,” WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said yesterday (25 September) at the association's annual conference. “It is bad for businesses, bad for the economy and bad for consumers.”

Beale said the campaign will aim to stop by 2014 the duty escalator on an industry that generates GBP17bn (US$27.3bn) in taxes.

“Penalising such success is unfair and at odds with the Government’s claim to reward success and support competitiveness,” Beale added.