MPs recommend duty slash to help pubs recover

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Revive real ale: MPs have recommended that taxes be slashed for publicans and brewers through lower beer duty, VAT or business rates, in a new report (image: Getty/Dziggyfoto)
Revive real ale: MPs have recommended that taxes be slashed for publicans and brewers through lower beer duty, VAT or business rates, in a new report (image: Getty/Dziggyfoto)

Related tags: Beer, lockdown, Legislation, Health and safety, Siba, Coronavirus

Pubs and breweries desperately need the Government to stick to the 21 June lockdown easing date in order to survive, MPs have claimed in a fresh report.

The All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) of MPs said the sector needs immediate support as sales will not return to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2022 at the earliest. 

MPs recommended taxes be slashed for publicans and brewers through lower beer duty, VAT or business rates. 

Titled Caskenomics: Cask beer’s Covid crisis and the impact on people pubs and places​, the report warns many community pubs face an existential threat with pandemic debts.

Chair of the APPBG, Mike Wood MP, said: “Brexit provides an opportunity for the Chancellor to charge lower duty rates on draught beers – it’s an opportunity we would urge him to consider.

Shot in the arm

“For instance, halving the duty on draught beer – a cut of 22p on an average strength pint – would be a £600m shot in the arm to save our pubs and breweries.”

Multiple lockdowns mean that pubs have been forced to pour 87m pints of beer, worth more than £300m, down the drain.

Wood added: “Supermarkets have flourished over the past year, with sales of wine and spirits soaring. But now we need to make sure that pubs and breweries come out of this fighting too.”

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) welcomed the report and said further Government support was needed “to revive real ale”.

Thrive into the future

SIBA boss James Calder called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to consider a lower duty on draught beer and for the Government to stick to its unlocking roadmap.

Calder said: “Cask beer produced by our nation’s small and independent brewers is integral to our community pubs and forms an important part of our cultural heritage. However under Covid-19, cask beer has faced its biggest threat

“So that small independent brewers and pubs can survive and thrive into the future, now is the time for the Chancellor to consider a lower duty on draught beer and for the Government to keep to the roadmap out of lockdown. These measures will go a long way to ensure that cask is back for good and help the sector to recover.”

MPs’ recommendations come as figures reveal that just under a quarter (23.7%) of licensed premises in Britain have remained closed​ despite being permitted to reopen for indoor trading.

The Treasury is set to publish the conclusions of a review into alcohol duty this summer.

Related topics: Beer, Legislation

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