UK general elections - what are the main parties’ positions on wine?
With the UK general election looming on the 12th December, we ask what are the main parties plans affecting wine, and what are their positions regarding tax, minimum unit pricing and labelling.
The right leaning Conservatives plan to review alcohol duty rates to ensure the tax system is supporting British drinks producers.
The Liberal Democrats, a centralist party, plan a review of the UK excise duty structure, but with the explicit aim to 'better support whisky exports'. They also plan to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol nationwide.
The left leaning Labour party plan to review the evidence on the effect of minimum unit pricing of alcohol and require alcoholic drinks to have 'clear health warnings'.
The review of alcohol tax rates in favour of spirits and beer by Liberal Democrats and Conservatives will mean an increase in taxes for wine if the total tax take stays the same.
Minimum unit pricing of wine is proposed by the Liberal Democrats and Labour will review it. In Scotland, the minimum unit price is 50p a unit, setting a minimum price of £4.50 for a 12% abv bottle of wine. There is still significant volume sold in the £4-£5 price range - it is the second largest price bracket in the UK and is about two thirds the size of the leading £5-£6 price range. (Numbers supplied by the WSTA).
Labour is the only party planning on adding more health warnings on wine bottles. Unique health labels increase costs as labels need to be designed specifically for the UK and could make it more costly for smaller producers to export. However, under the Conservative's Brexit plans, wine labels will need to include the name of the importer once we leave the EU and this will again require specialist labels for the UK market, adding cost.