Backed by Long Live the Local – a campaign celebrating pubs’ vital social, cultural and economic role while recognising the financial pressures they face – 2016 Bake-off winner Brown took to Westminster’s streets urging the Government to cut beer duty in its 11 March Budget.
She did so on a day in which Brewers of Europe – representative of 9,500 beer makers across 29 countries – estimated the amount of beer duty already paid by British drinkers so far in 2020 exceeded the sum German drinkers are expected to pay all year, despite the latter supping nearly twice as much their British counterparts annually.
“Pubs are the beating heart of cities, towns and villages up and down Britain – they not only provide jobs but a place where everyone and anyone can meet and socialise,” Brown said. “If the Chancellor does not act now, he is set to damage not only businesses but communities as well”.
It’s hoped that this year’s petition, which currently boasts 252,428 signatures – with close to 120,000 of whom having written to their MP – will implore Boris Johnson’s new Chancellor Rishi Sunak to do the same.
In October 2019, Brown – who runs the Green Man in Eversholt, Bedfordshire – and a group of fellow publicans delivered the petition of more a quarter of a million signatures to 10 Downing Street imploring the Chancellor to cut beer duty.
Asking for a ‘modest’ cut
Beer duty raises £3.4bn per year for the UK Treasury – four times more than in any other European nation. Despite Spain brewing almost as much beer as the UK, for example, it pays 11 times less beer duty. While Brits pay 54p duty for every pint of 5% ABV beer, their Spanish counterparts only pay 5p.
According to Long Live the Local, financial pressures from a swathe of taxes, including beer duty, put local pubs at risk of closure with one in three pounds spent in the pub winding up in the taxman’s pocket.
What’s more, with beer accounting for seven of every 10 alcoholic drinks served in pubs, campaigners estimate that an increase in beer duty will disproportionately affect Britain’s pubs.
“Pubs employ almost 600,000 people,” David Cunningham, programme director of Long Live The Local added. “On average, a pub contributes over £100,000 to its local economy.
“Despite this, pubs are overtaxed, with each pub paying an average of £140,000 every year through a range of taxes, one of which is beer duty.
“Beer duty in the UK is 11 times higher than in Germany and Spain, which is why we’re asking for a modest cut in beer duty to save thousands of jobs and help protect the future of local pubs.”
YouGov research from 2019 highlights that three quarters of Brits (75%) think that the current beer duty rates are unfair while almost half (47%) believe the Government should be doing more to support pubs.
To sign the Long Live the Local petition, email your MP, or for more information on the campaign, please visit longlivethelocal.pub.