OPINION: Sector wears ‘concrete boots’ of business taxes

Simple request: Andy Slee has called for 'fairness' from the new Government
Simple request: Andy Slee has called for 'fairness' from the new Government

Related tags Beer Opinion Andy slee Government

I came across this quote by US senator Elizabeth Warren in preparation for this article and it struck a chord.

“There is nobody in the country who got rich on their own, nobody… you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You are safe in your factory because of police and fireman that the rest of us paid for. You don’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize your possessions… ”

The scale of the economic challenges we face in the UK is summed up by the fact we spend more every year on interest on our national debt than we do educating the next generation of Britons. Read that again and let it sink in.

The social challenges we face can be seen on every boarded-up high street and by studying the legacy impact of Covid on that ‘next generation’. CAMRA’s Friends on Tap​ documented the enormous cost of loneliness to the NHS before lockdown. It will be much higher now.

Force for good

Britain’s pubs and breweries are a force for good in communities across the land and often provide the last place local people to meet and socialise.

Our sector has been at the heart of bringing us together during the Euros during the past few weeks, in England and Scotland at least, but we wear the concrete boots of some of the highest business taxes in Europe.

I read recently that repayment of Covid legacy debt had been slowest in hospitality. No wonder when crippling levels of beer duty and business rates inhibit profitable growth for brewers and pubs.

So as a new Government forms on July 4th, whatever its colour, all I ask on our behalf is for ‘fairness’.

To the online business community that thrived during Covid and pay tax at a fraction of the rate of our businesses, let me refer back to senator Warren…

Pay it forward

“You turned your business into something terrific – god bless. Keep a big share of it but part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that success and pay forward for the next kid that comes along.”

I hope each of you are taking the opportunity to speak to parliamentary candidates to reiterate the role your business plays in its local community and will then hold them to account for any support they give you ahead of the election.

Whether you are a pub or brewer, you pay tax at many times the rate of Amazon or Bet365 and, frankly, that’s a national disgrace.

The UK’s economic prosperity will not be restored until that taxation imbalance is tackled head-on. That imbalance won’t happen through osmosis so if the 1m voters whose jobs are linked to hospitality call for change, who knows what might happen?

Let’s raise a glass to that.

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