Cheers to that! Rishis Brexit plan for English sparkling wine to replace champagne

Keir Starmer grilled on tax rises by Charlie Stayt

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The Chancellor is thought to be planning a radical overhaul of the UK’s complicated alcohol tax system. He is set to restructure the system to boost sales of drinks produced domestically.

Currently there are 15 different bands of taxation for alcohol in the UK.

Wine has as many as six different tax brackets, while beer and cider have three and five respectively.

The Treasury wants to make widespread changes to the convoluted system to make it simpler and more fit for purpose.

Still wines between 5.5 percent and 15 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) are taxed at £2.98 per litre.

However, sparkling wines of more than 8.5 percent up to 15 percent are hit with a levy of £3.81.

As well as giving English wines a boost compared to imports from abroad, Mr Sunak would scrap the sparkling wine premium to tax it as the same rate as those without bubbles according to the Sunday Times.

The changes would mean the price of sparkling wine would be cut by as much as 83p.

Mr Sunak is set to announce the changes when he delivers his Budget on October 27.

The Chancellor and his officials are currently locked away meticulously going over the UK’s finance figures to work out the Government’s tax and spending plans for the major Commons speech.

Reviewing alcohol duty to boost UK producers was a commitment made by the Conservatives in their 2019 manifesto.

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The party promised: “We will review alcohol duty to ensure that our tax system is supporting British drink producers.”

Sales of English sparkling wine have rocketed in recent years, with domestically produced bottles growing in popularity year on year.

Sales have doubled over the last five years.

Some experts even predicting at least 20 million bottles could be produced in the UK each year by 2030.

Sparkling wines currently make up a 71 percent share of the English wine market.

The Treasury is also thought to be considering a cut to “keg taxes” on barrels delivered to pubs and clubs.

It would help give a boost to hospitality venues looking to recover from the pandemic.

The Treasury refuses to comment on tax speculation ahead of the Budget.

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