CAMRA plea for energy bill help as breweries go under

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Energy bill plea: CMARA states breweries are closing and need help now (credit: Getty/urbancow)
Energy bill plea: CMARA states breweries are closing and need help now (credit: Getty/urbancow)

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The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has demanded chancellor Jeremy Hunt to confirm before Christmas that breweries, pubs and hospitality firms will receive help with soaring energy bills when the current scheme runs out in April 2023.

The plea comes after a string of announcements in recent months of small, local and independent breweries closing due to huge economic pressures.

CAMRA cited research by Steve Dunkley of Manchester-based Beer Nouveau that revealed dozens of breweries have closed their doors in 2022.

The industry faces a Christmas of uncertainty as the Government has failed to make key announcements about economic support and fiscal arrangements in 2023.

The sector is awaiting news on which businesses will get energy bill support beyond April, as well as a decision on whether general beer duty will be uprated next year – a move that could see huge inflationary rises in the price of a pint at the bar.

Questions for Government

CAMRA’s campaign has now reached the House of Commons where Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pub Group Charlotte Nichols MP has submitted parliamentary questions to the chancellor Hunt and business secretary Grant Shapps asking for support with energy costs.

Dunkley said: “It is deeply worrying to see scores of small breweries announcing in recent weeks that they are having to close down for good due to the soaring costs of both making beer and keeping pubs open.

“Coupled with customers tightening their belts and the risk of energy bills rocketing when the Government support scheme ends next year, these closures could go through the roof if the Government doesn’t offer urgent support to save this crucial part of British brewing.”

Charlotte Nichols MP added: “With pubs and other hospitality businesses facing a cliff-edge in support for a crisis that will last long beyond April, it’s vital the Government gives the trade some certainty over the festive period.”

In limbo

Nichols continued: “The risk of spiralling future energy costs will leave licensees and brewers in limbo as they try to mitigate the impact of consumers being forced to tighten their belts. There are a huge range of measures that the chancellor and business secretary could take to support pubs and I look forward to hearing from them both about their plans.”

CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said small and independent breweries have been a huge success story for the UK economy over the past 30 years by employing local people and reviving the UK’s beer scene by increasing the choice of brews for drinkers.

“If we are to make sure that our beloved breweries can survive and thrive, the Government urgently needs to give brewing and pub and club businesses certainty and make key announcements about ongoing energy bill support and freezing general beer duty as soon as possible,” he said.

“CAMRA is also calling for venues to receive more help with the burden of business rates – and for the new, lower rate of duty charged on draught beer and cider to be introduced as quickly as possible to help pubs and small, independent breweries.”

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