Trade bodies from across the sector described the statement, due to take place on Wednesday 22 November, as a “golden opportunity” for the Government to “encourage growth”, urging the Government to put measures in place to support the sector, including support with beer duty, energy bills, business rates, planning systems and the apprenticeship levy.
What do you want from the Autumn Statement?
Business rates relief extension21%
Apprenticeship levy reformation0%
Scrapping of takeaway sales rules1%
British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin told The Morning Advertiser the Government needs to “rule out” further increases to beer duty and address issues with energy contracts.
She said: “The Autumn Statement represents a golden opportunity for the Government to help pubs across the country back on the path to growth at the heart of communities across the whole nation.
“For this to happen, they must rule out the planned second increase to beer duty since August that’s scheduled for this February.
“Beer duty increased more than 10% in August, and another increase would hurt pubs and brewers, further fuelling inflation.
“Moreover, Ofgem’s recommendations from their report on the non-domestic energy market must be implemented urgently and suppliers continue to be put under pressure to provide fair and reasonable contracts, to avoid a second consecutive winter energy crisis for our nation’s pubs.”
In addition, McClarkin also urged the Government to extend business rates relief for another year and freeze the multiplier to ensure individual pubs can “survive this tough economic period.”
Echoing this, UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “With a hike in business rates of almost £1bn on the horizon next April, the number one action needed from the Government is a commitment to extending business rates relief and freezing the current multiplier.
“This will not only help to encourage growth and investment, but also protect venues across the UK from closure and avoid emIn bedding inflation in the sector.”
Furthermore, Nicholls claimed by “acting on this issue now”, the Government would give hospitality businesses “much-needed clarity”.
“It will help the sector reach its full potential by driving growth, creating jobs and investing in local communities, all of which are key factors in boosting the economy in the long term”, she continued.
Nicholls also encouraged the Chancellor to review the rate of VAT for hospitality and reform the apprenticeship levy to give businesses “more control and flexibility over funding” as well as wider reformation of the planning system.
Uncertain economic future
Elsewhere in the sector, The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) national chairman Nik Antona told The Morning Advertiser the scrapping of “unnecessary rules” preventing draught takeaway sales from draught duty-paid containers would be beneficial.
Similarly to McClarkin and Nicholls, Antona added business rates relief and support with energy bills were also paramount.
He said: "Pubs, social clubs and taprooms, along with the brewers and cidermakers who serve them, are teetering over an ever-eroding cliff edge.
"The beer, cider and pub industries are being suffocated by unfair business rates, spiralling costs and sky-high energy bills all while being enveloped within the cost-of-living crisis.
“Licensees, brewers, and cider makers all face an uncertain economic future as they don’t know what their business rates or energy bills will look like in the next year.
“The Chancellor must use the Autumn Statement to help pubs, social clubs, brewers and cider makers, otherwise more communities across the UK risk losing their locals forever."