The FWD has urged the government to rethink its approach to alcohol duty, believing that it will create a costly administrative burden for wholesalers and increase the risk of alcohol duty fraud.
A new relief will see duty rates on draft beer and cider being cut by 5%, with the government publishing a consultation on the detail of these reforms, which will close on 30 January 2022. “Whilst we welcome steps to reduce alcohol duties, The creating of a distinction between the on and off trade is a harmful way of doing so” said its chief executive James Bielby.
He has also welcomed the new temporary 50% business rates relief for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties but believes this discount must also apply to the food and drink supply chain. “This has received comparatively very little help from the government throughout the pandemic.”
The FWD also supports the government’s fuel duty freeze as well as the continuation of the freeze on HGV VED for 2022-23 and suspension of the HGV Levy for another 12 months from August 2022. “However these measures are no substitute for placing HGV drivers on the shortage occupation list, providing access to a greater pool of labour”.
Bielby also has concerns for FWD members regarding the National Living Wage increase. “Whilst our members support the NLW in providing a minimum wage standard, we have concerns regarding the forthcoming increase during a time of major economic upheaval. The Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit have seriously impacted wholesalers’ revenues and disrupted the growth of their businesses. Further costs will detrimentally impact the sector. Looking ahead, there should not be a fixed target to achieve 66% of medium earnings, the Government must and should consider the economic impact such decisions will have on the sector and the wider economy.”