Autumn Statement

Save the Pub Group demands beer duty freeze should be kept

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Call: Mulholland’s All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group is also calling on the Government for a review of the rating system
Call: Mulholland’s All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group is also calling on the Government for a review of the rating system

Related tags: Business rates, Taxation in the united kingdom

The All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, to maintain the freeze on beer duty, ahead of his first Autumn Statement tomorrow (23 November).

The freeze was announced in the March 2016 Budget by then chancellor George Osborne who made three cuts and a freeze over four Budgets.

This resulted in beer duty being 17% cheaper than it would have been under the previous escalator policy, which was welcomed by the Save the Pub Group.

The group also asked for the new business rates system to be reviewed before its implementation next April.

The new business rates revaluation will mean London pubs will be among the hardest hit​ when it comes into play, seeing their bills rise by 25.6%, on average, over the next five years.

Continued support

Save the Pub Group chair Greg Mulholland said: “The Save the Pub Group has written to the chancellor, urging him to use his first Autumn Statement to show his backing for British pubs.

He added: “We hope Philip Hammond will maintain the freeze on beer duty. This would show continued support for the pub trade.

“We also need a review of the newly announced business rates system before it is implemented, due to the significant impact it will have on pubs around the country, particularly the four in 10 pubs that will see their rates bill increase.”

He also said the two steps would be welcomed by the pub trade and the group hopes Hammond will use the Autumn Statement to deliver these for pubs.

Similarly, earlier this month (16 November), CAMRA called on the Government to maintain its beer duty freeze​ in the Autumn Statement – and to impose an additional cut in next year’s Budget.

Economic and political instability

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has also called for action to address business rates costs.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "This is a time of economic and political instability and costs, predominantly business rates increases, continue to constrain businesses growth and risk investment in our sector.

"The country is facing a huge amount of uncertainty following the European Union referendum which may be exacerbated following the triggering of Article 50."

Nicholls added that uncertainty undermines confidence which in turn, undermines investment and growth.

She also said with this and increasing business rates costs eating into margins, she urged the Government to reduce costs and encourage investment.

The ALMR also asked the Government for resumption of high street retail relief, at least two years transitional relief to offset increased business rates bills, the abolition on National Insurance Contributions for under-25s, a delay in the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and for future National Living Wage rates to be set independently by the Low Pay Commission.

Related topics: Legislation

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