Harrogate Distillers & local MP lobby Treasury to remove hand sanitiser duty

Harrogate Tipple co-founder Steven Green (left) and Andrew Jones MP

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Karesborough, has supported gin distiller Harrogate Tipple to successfully lobby the Treasury to remove duty for alcohol used in the production of hand sanitiser across the UK.

Harrogate Tipple recently switched production from gin to hand sanitiser in order to meet the massive spike in demand for the product amid the coronavirus crisis.

The distiller of Harrogate Gin and Rum along with Downton Abbey gin and whisky range is planning to produce a not-for-profit alcohol-based hand sanitiser for the care sector in response to the growing need due to the spread of coronavirus.

With duty due on a 1 litre bottle of 80% alcohol currently costing around £25, the waiving of the tax will make the products dramatically cheaper to produce.

“With organisations such as care homes, GP practices and dental practices all struggling to source much-needed hand sanitiser, we realised that we could help by quickly switching production,” explains Steven Green, co-founder of Harrogate Tipple.

“Working with my fantastic production manager, Andrea Natiello, we consulted World Health Organisation guidelines and last week successfully produced our first batch of 500 bottles of 80% alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

“Our plan is to supply the hand sanitiser at cost, with no profit margin, to the care sector, charities and other businesses providing vital public services. However, as a distillery, HMRC told us we would still be liable to pay duty on the alcohol used in the hand sanitiser. Fortunately, hearing of the problem, Andrew Jones MP got in touch and has been in discussions with HMRC which has now agreed to waive the duty, enabling us to make the product at a realistic cost.”

Harrogate Tipple is currently producing four different bottle sizes from 250ml to 5l.

Andrew Jones MP added: “Yorkshire is renowned for its innovation and sense of community – this is a great idea from Steve of how we can contribute to the health emergency. I am proud to be supporting the initiative.

“In fact, I believe that my approach to the Treasury on behalf of Steve and Harrogate Tipple was the first such approach made to the Treasury in the entire country about this issue but now the idea is being rolled out nationally.

“This initiative and the tax relief making it happen are a locally distilled solution to a national problem.”