“The Government must act to help save pubs from the dire situation they face now,” according to the operator of the Half Moon pub in Kirdford, West Sussex, who is backing the Long Live The Local Campaign.
Kidd said pubs like hers were facing a range of tax pressures including VAT, business rates and beer duty and called on Sunak to prevent permanent closures at the 3 March Budget.
Tax on beer is three times higher in the UK than the average across the EU and 11 times higher than in Germany and Spain.
Pubs were forced to pour some 87m pints down the drain last year (2020) amid the coronavirus pandemic, costing pubs and brewers £331m, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
Pubs’ survival chances would be further hit by a planned Retail Price Index (RPI) linked increase in beer duty, campaigners said.
Kidd said: “Throughout the last year, the pub industry has had to make huge financial sacrifices. Landlords like me are desperate to be open and welcome back our locals at the right time, but the thought of having tax increases to cope with on top of all this is unbearable.
"A cut in beer duty will help pubs which are the backbone of local communities up and down the country. Not only do they provide livelihoods but also a social and cultural hub that so many of us are deeply missing at the moment.”
Resilience and agility
CEO of the BBPA, Emma McClarkin, added: "The industry has shown resilience and agility, with many publicans turning their venues into entirely new operations in order to survive the lockdowns and continue providing vital support to their local communities.
“We appreciate all the Chancellor has provided the beer and pub industry throughout the pandemic, but the job is far from over. A cut in beer duty will give our publicans and brewers an opportunity to reduce mounting costs, allowing them to survive and thrive when they are able to open again.”
Long Live the Local campaigners are petitioning the Government to cut beer duty.