The UK’s split with the European Union, proven to be a ‘major driver’ of UK inflation, will add £3 to bottles of wine at Christmas, new analysis has shown.
Despite being a major importer of wine from Europe, red tape since leaving the EU has added hundreds of pounds to every shipment – and it’s the consumer who pays the price.
Research by the European Movement UK has highlighted the extent to which businesses are struggling since leaving the EU, with multiple new checks meaning some importers are giving up on bringing wines to the UK entirely.
Daniel Lambert, who runs a Wales-based business importing millions of bottles of wine a year, points out that wine is the most consumed alcohol in the UK, with 12 million bottles being consumed every day of which 70 per cent comes from the EU.
In the old system with a single market, there was no ‘importing’ of wine – only moving wine. But that has since changed.
“The extra red tape has put about £3.50 on every bottle of wine you buy”, he said.
“If you used to buy a bottle for £8.99 – that’s now £11.99 or £12.99. Pre-Brexit, one pallet of wine that I was shipping from France, containing between 600-720 bottles, was £180. Between 25p and 30p a bottle. Now it’s about £400 – between 55p and 65p a bottle. It’s more than doubled.”
Gavin Quinney, a UK-born wine producer who now makes his own wine in France, said: “With every shipment to the UK costing hundreds of pounds more due to customs agents and extra paperwork, regardless of the size of the load, you have to ship in volume now.
“There won’t be a shortage of wine in the UK but consumer choice is being eroded. Sunak’s absurd way of taxing wine – his ‘Brexit freedom’ – on the level of alcohol means we have scores of duty bands replacing just three, and any still wine over 11.5 per cent has 20 per cent higher UK duty since August: a £5 bottle now has 70 per cent UK tax and an £8 bottle 50 per cent UK tax.
“You’ll see more and more re-badged bulk wine as suppliers try to keep the consumer price affordable. So much for Brexit freedoms – it’s a farce, and not a French one.”
Sir Nick Harvey, CEO of European Movement UK, said: “The European Movement UK’s new research highlights the enormous challenges facing British businesses trading in the post-Brexit economy. Paying more for the same bottle of wine is yet another way in which Brexit is hitting the pockets of consumers. Unless we see action from Government on easing the red tape and trade barriers for our UK businesses, prices will only continue to rise.”