Budget boost for beer and pubs

Industry investing after decision to scrap duty escalator, report says

• The 2013 Budget was positive for brewing and pubs, claims a new report.
• The 2013 Budget was positive for brewing and pubs, claims a new report.

THE 2013 Budget was a “turning point” for the British beer and pub industry, a new report has claimed.

The document, titled ‘Cheers! Budget 2013 – the impact of the beer duty cut’, was published jointly by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).
It claims the beer and pub sectors have seen significant benefits from chancellor George Osborne’s decision to remove the duty escalator for beer and cut duty by 1p, with a claimed £400 million invested in the UK industries in the course of 2013.
According to the report, more than 60% of BBPA members are planning to increase their workforce following the cut in duty, with pub group JD Wetherspoon alone said to be recruiting 400 new staff.
On the investment side, brewer and pub group Shepherd Neame announced earlier in the year that the Budget gave the company the confidence to invest in renovating 40 of its pubs.
Mike Benner, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale, said the “huge harm to the nation’s pubs” caused by the beer duty escalator would take years to undo, but the cut in duty this year was “a good first step”.
And Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said the “surge” in confidence post-Budget has “made a real impact on investment”.
“After only six months much has already been achieved, but the long term precedent set by this government support for the industry should not be forgotten,” said Simmonds.
“Now, not only are we proud of our brewing and pub history, we are becoming highly ambitious for the future.”
SIBA chairman Keith Bott added that several of the society’s members are now investing in new brewery equipment, opening pubs or recruiting new staff.
“Overall, the picture that emerges is of a vibrant and confident local brewery industry,” said Bott.