Duty increase will 'damage growth and prosperity'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Damage to growth: brewing sector joins calls urging Chancellor to extend duty relief in Autumn Statement (Credit: Getty/Jack Andersen)
Damage to growth: brewing sector joins calls urging Chancellor to extend duty relief in Autumn Statement (Credit: Getty/Jack Andersen)

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Voices from across the brewery sector have joined calls urging the Chancellor to scrap the duty increase in February next year in next week’s Autumn Statement.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will address Parliament on Wednesday 22 November to detail the Government’s fiscal plans for the next year, but brewery leaders have warned the planned duty increase would “seriously damage growth” in the sector.

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC​) CEO Paul Davies said: “Brewers across the UK have absorbed as many cost increases as possible in the last few years and are doing everything in their power to keep beer affordable.

“August’s beer duty increase, which amounted to a staggering £225m burden on our sector, has intensified the pressures on pubs and brewers to push costs up for the public.”

Damage growth 

This comes as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the average cost of a pint of draught lager had increased 12.5%​ in the year to October, jumping from £4.15 last year to £4.67.

“For the Government to continue to increase costs for our sector, while inflation remains high, will seriously damage the growth and prosperity our sector has the power to bring to communities across the country.

The Autumn Statement​ is an opportunity for the Government to allow our sector to begin to thrive again, and reap the benefits that will bring, but they must act to make this happen by ruling out another increase in beer duty and extending small business rate relief”, Davies continued.

Earlier this week, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) also called for a duty freeze as part of the plans​, adding it was the “only way to avoid budget-busting” and “inflation stoking” price rises.

The Society for Independent Brewers (SIBA​) chief executive Andy Slee urged Hunt to cancel February’s duty increase and expand the draught duty relief to 20% in a bid to help keep pints in pubs “affordable”.

Essential funding 

Moreover, the chief executive said it was “essential” the Chancellor the current 75% business rates relief for hospitality continued into 2024 and 2025 to give struggling pubs a “lifeline” as well as ensured environmental support and funding.

He continued: “Well-run community pubs and quality independent breweries are a force for good in local communities across the UK and deserve to be supported in the Chancellor’s Autumn statement next week.
“Independent breweries are also increasingly conscious of the environmental impact and how they can make their business more sustainable, but they often lack the resources to do so.

“With the Government’s net zero emissions targets in place it is essential funding and support is made available for businesses seeking to make their business sustainable for the future.”

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