Lower tax on pints chance to help save pubs – CAMRA on Tory manifesto

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Document details: manifestos have included various pledges that could impact the pub sector (image: Getty/track5)
Document details: manifestos have included various pledges that could impact the pub sector (image: Getty/track5)

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Pledges in the Conservative Party’s manifesto have been described as “encouraging” by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The manifesto, which has been launched just over three weeks before the general election on 4 July, claimed the party would launch a review of the night-time economy in England, looking at how to reverse the decline in pubs and clubs numbers.

Moreover, it also stated the Brexit Pubs Guarantee, which was implemented in August last year, would be maintained as the party claimed the duty on drinks on draught would be less than in the off-trade.

According to the Government, the Brexit Pubs Guarantee means the duty paid by pubs on each drink poured from draught will be up to 11p cheaper than in supermarkets. When it was introduced, the Government pledged the duty pubs and bars pay on these drinks will always be less than retailers.

CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said: “It is encouraging to see the Conservative manifesto reconfirming the party’s commitment to the new system of alcohol taxation and the lower rate of duty charged on draught beer and cider served in our pubs, social clubs and brewery taprooms so tax on pints in pubs is always lower than that on supermarket alcohol.”

The organisation called on the next UK Government to extend the discount on tax for draught beer and cider in a bid to “turbocharge” the new alcohol duty system.

Help save pubs

Furthermore, the document said the Conservatives would extend the Community Ownership Fund, aiming to help more communities take control of ‘vital community assets’ such as pubs.

CAMRA welcomed the pledge. Antona added: "[It] would ensure local groups can access funding they need to save their local pub as a community hub if it is under threat of closure, conversion or demolition.

“In addition, the Conservative proposal to review the night-time economy in England with a view to reversing the decline in pub numbers would provide an opportunity to show how transforming tax, regulation and planning laws could help save the nation’s much-loved pubs being lost to the communities they serve.”

Elsewhere in the manifesto, the Conservative party stated it will maintain the national living wage in each year of the next parliament at two thirds of median earnings.

It estimated that based on current forecasts, this would mean it could rise to about £13 an hour.

Meanwhile, CAMRA also responded to the publication of the Liberal Democrat’s manifesto, which was published yesterday (Monday 10 June).

Devil in the detail

Antona said it was encouraging to see commitments to overhauling the “broken business rates” system in England.

He added: “[It] is desperately needed to help save our pubs as well as on strengthening powers to allow community assets like pubs to be protected and introducing a dedicated minister for hospitality and tourism.

“While the devil will be in the detail, the Liberal Democrats plans to replace the current business rates system with a new Commercial Landowner Levy based on land value rather than entire capital value could see more proportionate business taxes for the hospitality sector in many parts of the country and an end to the current system, which disincentivises pubs.

“It is vital the next Government radically reforms the business rates system to stop pubs overpaying by around £500m each and every year and to ensure online businesses pay their fair share compared to bricks and mortar businesses like much-loved community pubs.

“CAMRA looks forward to working with Lib Dem parliamentarians and those of all parties in the next parliament to ensure business rates and community ownership policies better support and protection the nation’s much-loved locals.”

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