The WSTA says it is still talking to its members after the break for beer in the Budget

The WSTA says it is still talking to its members after the break for beer in the Budget

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has said it is continuing to assess its legal options in light of the UK Government's singling out of beer in last month's Budget. 

The industry body had previously suggested that the UK Chancellor's move to cancel the duty escalator on beer, but maintain it for wine, spirits and cider could be illegal. It pointed to a 1983 European legal case, which says beer and wine have to be treated equally in a country's tax regime, as a precedent. 

"We are continuing to assess the impact of the Budget ... and to discuss options with our members," a WSTA spokesperson told just-drinks today (17 April).

The spokesperson would not be drawn on whether legal action has been ruled out or not.

However, the Scotch Whisky Association, which at the time branded the move a “unfair and incomprehensible blow”, is looking to the future. "It's something we have to accept now," a spokesperson said. "We have to look ahead and to next year's Budget."

The UK Treasury last month told just-drinks it is confident that the singling out of beer over duty rates is legal, based on similar measures in Denmark, Ireland and France