Campaigners want VAT cut and help for licensees and small breweries


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Demands put on government: small business need more help according to the Campaign for Pubs (Credit: Getty/SolStock)
Demands put on government: small business need more help according to the Campaign for Pubs (Credit: Getty/SolStock)

Related tags Campaign for Pubs Government Finance Pubco + head office Brewers

A campaign group has demanded a VAT cut from the Spring Budget and urged the Government to listen to licensees and not big brewers.

The Campaign for Pubs has called on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to listen to publicans in a bid to save pubs and small breweries with direct support. 

The group said this should include a VAT cut on all pubs sales, rather than making any changes in alcohol duty, which it said do not help pubs or publicans but instead present a “multimillion-pound tax break to global brewers and producers”.

The group said: “Pubs are facing a perfect storm of dramatically rising costs, especially energy costs, at the same time as customers are cutting back on spending.”

Vital role

It continued: “Pubs are an intrinsic part of our national character and perform a vital role as community venues, meeting points and safe spaces for monitored responsible drinking. They are also the guardians of the UK-specific cask ale style, which can only be found in UK pubs.

“Costs for pubs and for brewers, especially energy and ingredient costs, continue to rise significantly alongside a cost-of-living crisis that reduces customer spending. This is made worse by the fact that pubs are having to pass on at least some of the rising costs faced by brewers and other suppliers, making visits to the pub even less affordable to those on lower and middle incomes.”

The Campaign for Pubs added the current level of support for pubs is “simply inadequate” and the survival of many pub businesses and small brewers depends Government action focused on small businesses “rather than big brewers and pubcos that do not”.

VAT cut to 10%

The group wants:

• A VAT cut to at least 10% on all hospitality/on-trade sales for 12 months to benefit all pubs, not just those that sell food or provide overnight accommodation

• Reduce the flat rate for VAT

• A cancellation of Covid debt for pubs with outstanding and unaffordable Bounce Back Loans

• Further and more meaningful action on energy bills for businesses

• Extension of zero business rates for the next fiscal year and a revision for 2024-25

• Extend business rates relief to small brewers and producers.

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