It was originally billed as a budget-friendly booze budget, but Rishi Sunak seems to have other plans. He has plans for communion wines.
As a result, the price of fortified drinks used in church services will increase.
Last week, the Chancellor admitted to a slight increase in rates for certain drinks, including stronger red wines, fortified and white ciders. This is because they are currently undertaxed due to their strength.
This will affect many communion wine, which contain between 12-15 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
The move bemused Rev Linda Williams of St Peter & St Paul’s church in Hertfordshire. ‘Having stepped in to fill the gaps of local social need during pandemic, churches have been subject to more tax on fortified wine required for Holy Communion. She expressed gratitude to The Times in a letter.
The new rules will see alcohol being taxed based on its strength. This will impact communion wines which are approximately 12-15 percent ABV (stock imahe).
Canon law in both Roman Catholic Church and Church of England stipulates that communion wines must be made from the grape’s fermented juice.
Many churches serve alcoholic wine that has had its alcohol fortified. This means that a distilled spirit has been added in order to increase the alcohol volume. The wine can be preserved and prevented from spoiling by the high alcohol content.
Fergus Butler Gallie, a priest in the diocese London and a writer, said that it was also to do hygiene.
It’s not an Old Testament rule that says you must have 15 goats’ blood sacrificed to 18.7 percent ABV. He said it was about hygiene. ‘The more alcohol you have, the easier it is to reduce germs.
Broadland Drinks CEO Mark Lansley suggested that his company could lower the wine’s strength.
He stated that unless there is a religious reason to forbid it, we should have the ability to make our alcoholic communion wines at 8 percent ABV. This will reduce the duty rate. “I don’t think God would mind if it were 8 per cent ABV, rather than 15 percent.
Teetotal Mr Sunak (pictured) said he wanted to make the system ‘simpler, fairer and healthier’, with lower-strength drinks such as beers, sparkling and rosé wines and fruit cider taxed less
Last week, teetotal Mr Sunak said he wanted to make the system ‘simpler, fairer and healthier’, with lower-strength drinks such as beers, sparkling and rosé wines and fruit cider taxed less.
Taxes will rise for stronger reds, fortified wine and higher-strength ciders when the new system begins in 2023.
Miles Beale, of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, criticized the plans, saying that a wine with 15% ABV will be subject to 25 percent more duty than a wine with 12% ABV (more 60p per bottle) and would be difficult to administer.
He said: “If the Government wants things to be fairer and push consumers towards healthier choices, then per-unit costs should be the equal regardless of drink category. It is a mistake not to tax high-strength, high calorie beers and ciders. However, it makes no sense to penalise still-wine, of which three-quarters will be taxed less.
A Treasury spokesperson stated that last night, “We are overhauling UK’s old alcohol duty rules.”