General Election 2017

Draught beer should have lower duty, says SIBA

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Positive move: SIBA has called for a lower duty rate for draught beer to get people back into pubs
Positive move: SIBA has called for a lower duty rate for draught beer to get people back into pubs

Related tags Brewery Brewing

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has called for a lower duty rate for draught beer to get people back into pubs as part of its pre-election manifesto.

SIBA wants the next Government to introduce a preferential rate of duty for beer served in draught form to “encourage the consumption of beer in the sociable environment of the pub”.

The manifesto, published on Monday (15 May), urged parliamentary candidates to “back Britain’s independent craft brewing businesses” by pledging support and action.

Creative solutions

SIBA managing director Mike Benner said that as the UK approaches its exit from the EU it was important that the new Government considers “creative ways of improving the excise duty system, which may no longer be restricted by EU directives”.

He said: “Alongside a commitment to at least freeze beer duty during the next parliament, SIBA would like to see the introduction of a lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs compared to the off-trade to encourage people to drink sociably and responsibly in local pubs.

“We all know of the benefits pubs bring to their communities and to the wellbeing of individuals, so this would be a very positive and popular move."

Small breweries' relief

SIBA is also calling for candidates to support retaining the small breweries' relief – which gives the smallest brewers 50% relief on beer duty to help them compete with larger companies.

The relief is “essential” to hundreds of small businesses, according to SIBA, and has been hugely successful in building the independent brewing industry in the UK.

Other actions the association wants to see from candidates include support for SIBA’s campaigns to ensure local brewers have access to market via pubs, as well as finding ways to open up new markets in the hospitality industry, meeting the demands of beer drinkers.

SIBA has also suggested candidates can back independent craft brewing by toasting any general election success with a pint of their local beer.

Brexit and business rates

SIBA urged candidates to pledge their support in ensuring pubs remain at the centre of their community, and called for an urgent “root-and-branch” review of the business rates system.

The document also asked candidates to keep the sector “front of mind” during Brexit negotiations, both as a major employer of EU labour, while also avoiding trade barriers on food and drink products.

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