Ahead of the upcoming Budget, more than 50 MPs from all parties attended a debate at Westminster Hall – chaired by All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chair Mike Wood MP – to campaign for fairer tax treatment to boost British brewing and pubs.
In response, Treasury Minister Simon Clarke MP recognised the challenges facing the sector and will ensure the views will be heard by the Treasury department.
During the debate, Conservative Wood, who represents Dudley South, said: “Beer duty remains much too high. It is much higher than in any other major beer-producing country in Europe.
“In fact, someone who bought a pint in each of the five other major beer-producing countries –Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Poland – would still have paid less duty on those five pints [collectively] than they would on a single pint in Britain.”
Urge the minister
Nationally, the sector adds nearly £23bn to the UK economy, paying £13bn in taxes.
The submission highlighted the current excise duty regime that UK beer drinkers pay 54p in beer duty on every pint (5% ABV).
This is 11 times higher than beer duty in Germany and Spain, and beer drinkers have put £250m more into the Treasury coffers following two beer duty freezes.
Wrexham Conservative MP Sarah Atherton said: “A few years ago, I owned and ran a microbrewery, so I know some of the difficulties facing breweries, including the fledgling Magic Dragon brewery in Wrexham. I urge the minister to support the cut in beer duty.”
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has also called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid to support the beer and pub sector with its Budget submission.
The submission highlighted the important economic contribution of the beer and pub sector with 900,000 people relying on the industry for work.
Ahead of the Budget next month, the BBPA is calling for a cut in beer duty and wholesale reform of business rates.
BBPA policy director Andy Tighe said: “It was great to hear so much cross-party support for beer and pubs from MPs in parliament.
“The Long Live the Local campaign has achieved widespread recognition that the sector remains overtaxed, and that further tax rises in the Budget are unsustainable.
“We now need the Government to turn this goodwill into further action, with a cut in beer duty and to announce a review of business rates in the Budget on the 11 March.”
The Long Live the Local campaign programme director David Cunningham said: “I was pleased that so many MPs acknowledge the large amount of correspondence they had received from their constituents supporting the campaign.
“So far, more than 128,000 people have written to their MP, 250,000 people have signed a petition and 25,000 publicans are backing the campaign in their pubs – evidence of just how much they care about our local pubs and breweries.
“We hope the Chancellor listens to them and responds with a cut in beer duty.”