CHANCELLOR George Osborne’s autumn statement provoked a mixed reaction from business and licensed trade groups last week.
While organisations like the British Retail Consortium and Federation of Small Businesses welcomed news that an increase in fuel duty – originally scheduled for January 2013 – had been scrapped, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) expressed disappointment that the government was not planning to review the beer duty escalator.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds described the lack of action on duty as “a missed opportunity”.
“Employment could be boosted by 5000 this year alone with a freeze in beer tax – mostly jobs for younger people in Britain’s pubs,” she said.
“The coalition should distance itself from the previous government’s tax policy, and the chancellor should now heed calls from MPs of all parties for a review.
“However, there are announcements to welcome.
“As an industry that pays £11 billion in taxes each year – including excise duty, VAT, national insurance, business rates and corporation taxes – the beer and pub sector also supports the Government’s intention to ensure that all businesses contribute their fair share to support the economy.
“It is also reassuring to see that Government acknowledges that money does need to be invested in enforcement to crack down on tax avoidance, rather than lumbering UK businesses with the bill.”
• Duty campaign latest.