Brits pay 43% more for their booze than the European average

Britain has the fourth most expensive alcohol prices in Europe, according to analysis of data from the Office of National Statistics.

British consumers are being hit by punishingly high alcohol prices while drinkers across the channel pay a lot less to enjoy a tipple.

The ONS latest analysis reveals that in the EU, UK prices are beaten only by Sweden, Ireland and Finland.

The figures show that in the UK the alcohol beverage price level is 42.7% higher than the EU average.

In comparison the French pay 11% below the EU average for their alcohol, in Spain it’s 16% below and in Bulgaria they pay 35% less than the EU average alcohol price.

According to the WSTA it is no coincidence that the UK also pays such high duty levels on spirits, wine and beer in Europe.

Miles Beale Chief Executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association said the reality is that £2.16 of what Brits spend on an average priced bottle of still wine goes to the Treasury on duty. For sparkling wine £2.77 gets swallowed up by duty and when you buy an average priced bottle of spirits, at 40% abv, £8.05, of your hard-earned cash goes on duty.

On top of this the UK is dealing with rising inflation currently at 3%. All of which adds up to unfairly high prices for consumers when faced with their shopping bill.

Beale said: “Despite the Chancellor delivering a welcome and much-needed freeze on wine and spirit duty in the November Budget we still have a long way to go to rebalance the UK’s excessively high duty rates. British consumers will find it a hard fact to swallow that they are paying well above average for the luxury of enjoying a drink. In this cold weather people are looking at summer holiday destinations and these alcohol price comparisons make a holiday to France, Spain or Bulgaria a very attractive prospect. Our disproportionately high prices are not helping Britain promote itself as an attractive destination for tourists. The Government should do more to rebalance duty, and offer British consumers a fairer deal and tourists to the UK a more attractive proposition – both of which would support the more than 550,000 people working in the UK’s world leading wine and spirit industry.”