Wine-SearcherWriting for Wine-Searcher.com, James Lawrence delivers his take on how the UK wine trade is handling the cloud of uncertainty hanging that is Brexit. He speaks to industry experts, including our own CFO Richard Halstead, to get to the heart of the greatest challenges facing businesses operating today.
“It’s a question that Richard Halstead, chief operating officer at Wine Intelligence, has spent many months pondering. “Firstly, it’s vital to remember that discussions about Brexit’s effects on UK businesses are all very hypothetical at this stage, as we obviously don’t have any concrete indication what final deal the UK government will get,” he says.
Nevertheless, I pressed Halstead for his views on the consequences of a possible “hard” Brexit, a troubling prospect for UK retailers, to put it mildly.
“Hard Brexit [trading outside the customs unions and according to WTO rules] would clearly have a real impact on business revenue and the UK economy,” says Halstead. “An economic recession is by no means impossible, moreover, employment costs are likely to rise, as will excise duty and taxes on alcohol. The government’s finances will undoubtedly be in a poor state following our planned departure from the EU, and so the Treasury will be desperate to claw back any revenue it can. Alcohol will be a soft target and I’m convinced that future budgets will contain significant duty rises on alcohol.””
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