He explained that with the addition of fuel duty, the Budget has come with a “double whammy” for the Yorkshire-based brewery, as it has its own fleet of trucks.
“We are disappointed with the outcome,” said Theakston. “The duty escalator certainly does not tackle binge drinking. The Government needs to help areas of the industry that act responsibly, such as cask ale that has a low ABV and is only served in pubs, where alcohol can be enjoyed responsibly. Instead, it’s just punishing us and earning less and less revenue for the Government, as the industry continues to shrink under higher taxes.
“David Cameron has been shouting a lot about supporting British businesses, but from where we are standing, it does not feel like that. We are just getting hammered.
“We have seen a steady decline in our margins since the alcohol duty escalator was introduced.”
Theakston added that the only thing he would welcome from the Budget was the corporation tax cut, but said that it is relatively small compared to the alcohol duty the company will have to pay.
He also noted that many licensees thought that there had been no rise in beer tax because of the way the Chancellor “glossed over” alcohol tax.
“We weren’t happy with the way George Osborne announced the beer tax, saying that there were no changes,” said Theakston. “He’s quite stealthy and it didn’t get a reaction from the house, which has confused a lot of people. We received quite a number of calls from licensees thinking that beer tax had not increased.”