Delusions of cheaper beer is beyond naive Prime Minister

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Political delusions on cheap beer are damaging

Related tags Beer Price rises Duty Prime minister Rishi Sunak Brewery Brewing Pub & bar

You have to wonder if politicians really believe the things they say because our Prime Minister’s recent comments about how one of the benefits of Brexit has been the delivery of cheaper beer does seem to fly in the face of reality.

Speaking on a flight to the G7 summit Rishi Sunak claimed: “We reformed the alcohol duties that mean this summer you will be able to get cheaper beer in pubs. These are the tangible benefits of Brexit that I’ve already delivered.”

But will you? Leaving aside the fact you might struggle to find a pub that’s still open this summer, with all the cost pressures that operators are facing, the idea of consumers now coming in to demand their cheaper beer because of Brexit, might be the final nail in the coffin for the few that are left!

The idea that the Government’s minor tinkering of the duty scheme, something they could have done while still part of the EU, to clarify - not because Brexit has freed them from the shackles of European bureaucracy - has created a brave new world which will see prices drop across the bar is not just naive, it’s damaging to our sector.

At a time when inflationary pressures (mainly utilities - take note Bank of England) are pushing the prices of everything through the roof, for Sunak to claim that his Government minor fiddling, which in reality achieves very little for a sector that has been crying out for reform, is going to see a drop in prices is ridiculous.

It will also create an environment of expectation among consumers which pubs and bars will now struggle to deliver, which will create further problems for the operators on the front line, having to refute the inflated claims of our political leaders.

The constant flailing to try and claim a benefit for Brexit is bad enough, without then clutching at straws which will leave our sector with a further headache.

If the Government genuinely wanted to deliver a benefit to consumers, Brexit aside, through enabling cheaper pints, they should have delivered real taxation reform, not just on duty, but on VAT and business rates.

If they created the breathing room for operators to absorb more of the, hopefully temporary, inflationary pressures, that dream of a cheaper pint might be achievable. 

The biggest frustration for myself, and many in the sector, is the feeling that the Government has thrown the hospitality sector to the wolves, yet when they want to score a cheap point with the voters, suddenly we’re back in the spotlight, for all the wrong reasons.

If you want to win an election, how about you actually help deliver the business conditions to allow our sector to survive and thrive, rather than naively creating a false narrative which will quickly unravel.

Related topics Beer

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