SIBA respond to release of Government’s Small Brewers’ Relief Technical Consultation

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“Today, the Treasury has published a long awaited technical consultation on the future of Small Breweries’ Relief. SBR has been, is and will continue to be the foundation of the independent craft beer movement in the UK. It has enabled small brewers to compete and grow against the global giants that dominate. SBR has created jobs, new businesses, innovation, new communities, and a ​new cohort of world class brew​ers.

The technical consultation published today is complex and comprehensive. SIBA will publish a fuller analysis and our views on the questions it asks in due course following discussions with our Board and with the industry. SIBA will continue to engage closely and positively with Treasury. We encourage all independent brewers to read the consultation with care, engage with us as your trade association and submit your views to your MP and Treasury directly. If you have questions, please ask us.

For us, three key areas of concern remain: Firstly that Treasury admit there are significant issues in how production cost data was gathered; secondly that around 150 brewers ​producing between 2,100hl and 5,000hl still stand to pay more in duty when reforms are introduced; and finally that the mechanism used to calculate a cash basis of relief (rather than a percentage) still has the potential to​, over time, erode the benefit of the relief, making brewers less competitive.

The consultation is of course published at a time where every pub in the country is closed ​with small brewers losing 80% of their sales and who face having to pour away more unsaleable beer at their own expense. Small brewers have not received the same level of financial support from Government ​as othe​r hospitality ​businesses.

These ​proposed changes come despite the support of over 100 MPs who have written to the Chancellor demanding a rethink, and a recent debate in Parliament where cross party MPs showed their support for small breweries. The Treasury’s own figures show that 73% of small brewers are content with SBR and 72% do not believe that those over 2,500hl should receive less relief. ”

James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive

Ian Fozard, SIBA Chair


Three key areas of concern remain: 

  1. Treasury admit that there are significant issues in how production cost data was gathered. We have concerns about the validity of other evidence submitted to Treasury leading to the policy conclusions.
  2. ​Initial review suggests that around 150 brewers​producingbetween 2,100hl and 5,000hl still stand to pay more in duty when reforms are introduced.
  3. That the mechanism used to calculate a cash basis of relief (rather than a percentage) still has the potential to, over time, erode the benefit of the relief, making brewers less competitive.

Consultation document: 
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk… (pdf)

100 MPs write to Chancellor demanding a rethink on proposed SBR changes: 
https://www.siba.co.uk/2020/12/15/100-mps-tell-chancellor-now-not-time-government-turn-back-small-breweries/

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