Will we be raising a beery cheer to the Chancellor next week? Or looking at a pint glass half empty?
The Society of Independent Brewers, which represents the UK’s independent breweries has urged the Chancellor to think of the millions of people who brew, serve and enjoy the UK’s national drink when he delivers next week’s Budget.
UK independent brewers are at the forefront of the ‘craft beer revolution’ making over 500 million pints of the best tasting beer and creating 800 jobs each year.
But businesses, beer and livelihoods are threatened by what the Chancellor might have in his Red Box next week. The UK pays one of the highest rates of beer duty in the world, 3 times the EU average. The UK drinks only 12% of Europe’s beer, but pays 40% of all of Europe’s beer tax.
A failure to cut beer duty will take the UK back to the days of the ‘hated’ beer duty escalator which accelerated community pub closures resulting in the loss of many thousands of jobs across the country and ripping the heart out of many communities.
High business rates remain the single biggest threat to community pubs across the UK, with pubs overpaying by £500million a year because they pay 2.8 per cent of the total rates bill while generating just 0.5 per cent of the business turnover .It’s a system that punishes pubs when they invest in growth and job creation. It’s great news that the entire beer, pub and hospitality industry is united in calling for action on beer duty and business rates.
In addition, SIBA has a 7 step plan which will help UK brewers, publicans and responsible drinkers in next week’s Budget which we encourage the Chancellor and HM treasury to consider carefully:
- Positive reforms to the tax relief small breweries receive which will secure consumer choice, sustainability, growth and jobs in the market, whilst protecting small brewers from any loss of relief.
- At least a freeze in the headline rate beer duty, but ideally a cut.
- A commitment to scrap the automatic RPI uprating of beer duty, preventing a return to the hated ‘beer duty escalator’ which closed hundreds of pubs.
- An urgent business taxation review to help pubs, high streets and breweries by making online businesses pay a fairer share.
- An increase in the annual business rate relief for pubs from £1,000 to £5,000, and the relief made permanent until a radical business taxation review is delivered and implemented.
- A review of cider duty to benefit public services and public health by bringing substitute products in line with one another.
- A commitment from Government to allow divergence from the conditions set within the EU structures directive in a post Brexit era.
Mike Benner, Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, said:
“The Chancellor has an opportunity on Monday next week to give a boost to UK pubs and brewers. Pubs are closing at an alarming rate and this hostile business environment is impacting on UK brewers, too. Unlike wine, the vast majority of the UK’s beer is made right here, in every constituency in the UK so this matters to every MP, too. The community pub and the local brewery are vital institutions, creating jobs, social spaces and helping to tackle important problems like in society like loneliness.”
Mike went on to say:
“Pubs and local breweries are a force for good in society. It can’t be right that some small brewers who own their own pubs pay more in business rates than Amazon does in Corporation tax. Something has gone seriously wrong for that to be the case. That’s why we’ve developed our 7-step plan for brewers and pubs that will, if adopted by Government, ensure one of our best industries remains sustainable for the long term”
For more information please contact: