A CUT in beer duty in next month’s Budget would help encourage investment, protect jobs and improve confidence in the sector – that’s the message from beer and pub industry bodies which have joined forces to launch a new campaign.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) have written to MPs asking them to urge chancellor Philip Hammond to cut beer duty in the Budget on March 8.
The letter, which launched the new duty cut campaign, highlights recent findings of a BBPA-commissioned report by Oxford Economics, which found that the beer and pub industry in Britain employs almost 900,000 people and contributes £23.1 billion to the economy, whilst paying £12.6 billion in tax.
The BBPA has also launched a new website for the beer duty campaign – cutbeertax.co.uk – which enables members of the public to write to their MP urging them to back the calls for a duty cut.
As part of this year’s activity, the BBPA has developed online widgets to show pub-goers and licensees the impact of recent cuts in beer tax.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said a cut in duty next month would help the industry “continue to invest in jobs, particularly for young people”.
“In recent years the government has cut beer tax three times, and opted for a freeze on duty last year,” she said.
“Strong support from MPs and the public really helped our campaign work, and the data shows that there are great benefits to be gained from a further cut. I hope that MPs will once again show their support for such a vital British industry.”
Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s national chairman, urged MPs to back the calls for a duty cut.
“With beer tax still at 52p on the pint, beer drinkers are still paying a notable amount – especially in comparison to other big brewing nations,” he said.
“A cut to beer duty will show government support for the British brewing industry and keep the price of beer down for consumers.”
Mike Benner, SIBA managing director, said Britain pays the second highest rate of beer duty in Europe.
“We would urge the government to introduce a cut in beer duty in the next Budget to allow this important British manufacturing industry the chance to continue to grow and thrive,” he added.