MPs demand ‘Budget for pubs’ to stop more calling time

By Claire Churchard contact

- Last updated on GMT

You’ve got mail: L-R Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, and MP Mike Wood deliver the MPs’ message to the Treasury
You’ve got mail: L-R Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, and MP Mike Wood deliver the MPs’ message to the Treasury
Fifty MPs have written a joint letter to the Chancellor urging him to slash the massive tax burden that is contributing to pub closures across the UK.

Ahead of the Budget next week (22 November), the MPs called on Philip Hammond to freeze beer duty for the rest of this parliament and introduce an annual £5,000 business rate relief for pubs as part of the ‘Keep Pubs Afloat’ campaign.

The letter follows a recent parliamentary debate where 24 MPs lobbied the Government to reduce the “growing tax burden on pubs”, which it said are paying nearly £140,000 on average in taxes every year.

Last public meeting space

“Pubs play a hugely important role in our social lives and the cohesion of their local communities. They act as a common meeting ground for friends, family and colleagues alike, helping to bring people from all walks of life together. In many areas they are the last remaining public meeting space, with so many libraries and meeting halls already lost,” said Tim Page, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

“Yet pubs cannot continue to shoulder such a massive tax burden and ultimately it is the consumer that is affected when the price of a pint goes up. We need the Treasury to act now by delivering a Budget for Britain’s pubs.”

'We cannot let this happen again'

Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said that nearly one million people work in the pub industry, highlighting that it contributes £23bn to the British economy “and the Treasury should be very grateful for the £13bn of taxes that it pays”.

He added: “The beer duty escalator increased beer duty by a staggering 42% over six years. During this time, the annual decline in sales of beer in pubs nearly doubled and 7,000 pubs called time for good, with over 58,000 beer-dependent jobs being lost.

“We cannot let this happen again. Loading any extra taxes onto pubs risks leading to more pubs closing - putting future tax revenues at risk.”

"Difficult to sustain profitability" 

A joint statement from the ALMR and BII stated: 

“The ALMR and BII urge the Government to support the 50 MP’s who have supported our industry by writing to the Chancellor today. The MP’s are supporting the points made in the “one voice letter” sent to them on behalf of all the leading trade organisations in Mid- October. Mike Wood MP, the Chair of the All-Parliamentary Beer Group is a great supporter of our industry and anything they can do to get our message across to Government is appreciated by all concerned.

Our sector supports 900,000 jobs across the country and contributes £23bn to the economy. Pubs pay five times more in business rates than their share of rateable business turnover while online businesses face a much more benign tax environment. Transitional relief has helped but with planned RPI increase to come pubs will find it very difficult to sustain profitability.”

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA also commented: 

"CAMRA is one of the UK’s biggest consumer voices, and this shows the great concern over our huge increases in beer duty and sky-high business rates for pubs. We have been campaigning closely with CAMRA in the run up to the Budget, and this message really hits home."

Letter signatories

David Amess MP

Adrian Bailey MP

Richard Benyon MP

Tom Brake MP

Julie Cooper MP

Stephen Crabb MP

Mary Creagh MP

Chris Davies MP

Steve Double MP

David Drew MP

Bill Esterson MP

Colleen Fletcher MP

Ruth George MP

Patricia Gibson MP

Mary Glindon MP

John Grogan MP

Andrew Gwynne MP

Fabian Hamilton MP

Nick Herbert MP

Nigel Huddleston MP

Rupa Huq MP

Graham Jones MP

Stephen Lloyd MP

Timothy Loughton MP

Caroline Lucas MP

Ian Lucas MP

Rachael Maskell MP

Stephen McCabe MP

Stephen Metcalfe MP

Maria Miller MP

Grahame Morris MP

Ian Murray MP

Alex Norris MP

Teresa Pearce MP

Toby Perkins MP

Marie Rimmer MP

Laurence Robertson MP

Jim Shannon MP

Ruth Smeeth MP

Cat Smith MP

Alex Sobel MP

John Spellar MP

Desmond Swayne MP

Alison Thewliss MP

Craig Tracey MP

David Warburton MP

Martin Whitfield MP

Mike Wood MP

John Woodcock MP

Daniel Zeichner MP

 

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