HC Deb 02 December 2003 vol 415 cc32-3W
Dr. Murrison:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of fiscal measures to (a) stimulate and (b) support the domestic production of wine. [141065]

John Healey:

The Government are mindful of the concerns and interests of UK wine producers. The UK wine industry has benefited from duty freezes in three out of the last six Budgets and increases only in line with inflation in the remainder of these.

We have not looked at fiscal measures for all UK wine producers but we have looked at the possibility of fiscal measures that would help small UK wineries to survive and grow. However, the European Directive on the structure of alcohol duties does provides for reduced rates targeted at small breweries which we have implemented in the UK, it does not provide for reduced rates targeted at small wineries.

Even if the UK were to press for the introduction of such a scheme, it is important to appreciate that less than 1 per cent, of the wine consumed in the UK is domestically produced. Under our European and world trade agreements we could not apply such a scheme to UK wine producers only and it is therefore likely that much of the wine that would qualify would come from overseas producers, with our own small wineries receiving comparatively very little of the benefit.

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