'Soaring wine tax is a war on women': Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc fights to save favourite tipple

Daily Mail Online 1 day ago

He famously said he would wash down his last meal with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Now celebrity chef Raymond Blanc is fighting to save his favourite tipple from repeated tax grabs by the Government.

He and a group of fellow wine connoisseurs have written to the Treasury blasting years of 'unfair' increases to excise duty.

Hitting back: Raymond Blanc is calling for the levy on wine to be slashed and said women were being hit hardest in the pocket but the constant excise duty rises
Hitting back: Raymond Blanc is calling for the levy on wine to be slashed and said women were being hit hardest in the pocket but the constant excise duty rises 

Calling for a cut to the levy in the next Budget, they warned that women had been hit hardest because 39 per cent choose wine as their favourite alcoholic drink compared to just 16 per cent of men, who tend to prefer beer where duty rises have been less dramatic.

The campaigners are understood to fear that wine sales are dropping rapidly while those of gin are soaring.

The Government has raised excise duty on wine eight times in the past ten years – equal to a 39 per cent hike to £2.23 on every bottle.

'Unfair': The top chef blasted the constant increases which has led to fears that wine sales are falling fast - with a nine per cent drop last year to £2.98 billion while gin sales have boomed
'Unfair': The top chef blasted the constant increases which has led to fears that wine sales are falling fast - with a nine per cent drop last year to £2.98 billion while gin sales have boomed 

Duty and VAT now account for 58 per cent, or £3.13, of the average £5.39 selling price of a bottle of wine.

The duty on beer has risen 6p over the same time to 43p a pint. 

Meanwhile, duty on gin is now just 27p for a single measure compared to 52p for a small glass of wine.

The letter from campaign group Wine Drinkers UK to Simon Clarke MP, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury – which was signed by Blanc – said: 'Wine is the UK's most widely drunk and favourite drink, enjoyed by over 33 million people. 

'But for too long, wine drinkers have been penalised when it comes to the tax they pay on their drink of choice.

'In particular, women have been disproportionately adversely impacted by the Government's duty decisions over the past decade.' 

Fight: Mr Blanc is one of a list of signatories from Wine Drinkers UK to Simon Clarke MP, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, to sign a letter opposing any more rises
Fight: Mr Blanc is one of a list of signatories from Wine Drinkers UK to Simon Clarke MP, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, to sign a letter opposing any more rises

The letter added that a cut in duty would 'benefit consumer pricing' and 'ensure that wine drinkers continue to enjoy the range of wine available in the UK today'.

Sales of wine in UK restaurants pubs and bars fell nine per cent to £2.98 billion last year.

Yet gin has boomed in what has been described as a 'ginaissance'.

Sales exceeded £2 billion over the year to March 2019.

The trend has led to the rise of gin tasting evenings, and created a boom in the market for 'posh mixers' such as Fever-Tree tonic.           


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