BBPA chief calls for Labour to cut VAT on food and end the beer duty escalator

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beer duty escalator Harriet harman Alcoholic beverage Labour party Brigid simmonds

Cut VAT on food sales and end the beer duty escalator which is “killing our industry” – was the call from British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds to  Labour politicians earlier this week.

Simmonds was speaking at a BBPA event in Manchester during the Labour Party Conference attended by senior politicians including Jack Straw and Hazel Blears, urging them to consider these issues when deciding on their manifesto for the next General Election.

“Across Europe the majority of countries offer reduced rates of VAT to encourage tourism. Reducing VAT for food and alcohol sold with food will not only encourage jobs but level the playing field with the supermarkets,” she said.

In particular, she highlighted the meal deals with alcohol offered by the supermarkets which don’t pay VAT and encourage people to stay in.

Simmonds also urged the Labour politicians to support moves for a beer duty debate in Parliament which is hoped will be secured following  the e-petition reaching 100,000 signatures.

“The beer duty escalator is really killing our industry and we need to do something to get rid of it. Unfortunately it was a Labour Government that introduced the beer duty escalator and as a senior politician said to me the other day, when talking about air passenger duty,  once it is introduced it is almost irresistible to put it up, “ Simmonds said.

“It does affect pubs because even though 80% of alcohol is now sold mainly in the off trade in community pubs 70% of alcohol people drink is still beer.

In addition she highlighted contribution that the industry makes to supporting grass roots sport.

“The Sport and Recreational Alliance, which I used to chair , believed that £50m from brewing and pubs goes to supporting grass roots sport.

“I would be very against some of the talk I have heard in some instances this week about sponsorship and how it’s not a good thing to be involved in the brewing and pub industry. “

She also highlighted that the industry supports almost 1m jobs in the UK, that 48% of people who work in pubs are under the age of 25 while the industry is currently supporting about 4,000 apprenticeships.

Related topics Beer

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