50 MPs sign cross-party pledge to support pubs

l-r, MPs Stephen Lloyd, Ruth Smeeth and Mike Wood
13/11/2017 - 08:22
A group of 50 MPs from across all major parties have sent a letter to the Treasury to demonstrate their support for British pubs.

The letter calls for the Chancellor to freeze beer duty for the rest of this parliament and introduce an annual £5,000 business rate relief for pubs in the upcoming Budget.

The written call comes in the wake of a parliamentary debate in which 24 MPs urged the Government to ease the tax burden on pubs which they said were paying nearly £140,000 in taxes every year.

Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said: “Nearly one million people work in this industry and the sector contributes £23 billion to our economy. And the Treasury should be very grateful for the £13 billion of taxes that it pays.

“The beer duty escalator increased beer duty by a staggering 42% over six years. During this time, the annual decline in sales of beer in pubs nearly doubled and 7,000 pubs called time for good with over 58,000 beer-dependent jobs being lost.

"We cannot let this happen again. Loading any extra taxes onto pubs risks leading to more pubs closing - putting future tax revenues at risk. I am urging the Chancellor to freeze beer duty in the Budget and reduce the disproportionately high business rates currently paid by pubs. This will be good for beer, good for pubs but, most importantly, good for the UK economy.”

Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North and Labour vice chair of the Beer Group added: “Brewing is a stunning success story for home-grown British manufacturing. A staggering 82% of all beer consumed in this country is made in the UK when over 99% of the wine we drink is imported.  It’s economic common sense to encourage people to drink beer.”

“The Conservatives have made great play on overturning the beer duty escalator and cutting beer duty, but the sad reality is that the last Budget put 2p on a pint and another increase would be a return to the beer duty escalator by the backdoor.  We must not let this happen.”

Last month, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) said it predicted that the Budget would deliver a “massive” tax hike of £213 million for the industry through increases to businesses rates and excise duty.

Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Liberal Democrat vice chair of the Beer Group said: “Pubs are at the heart of our local communities. A safe supervised environment in stark contrast to many other forms of drinking.1

"Pubs are the place where friends are made, and communities come together. Last year, researchers at Oxford University showed that pubs play a key role in tackling social isolation and promoting wellbeing.

“It would be incredibly short-sighted for the government to allow these wonderful community assets to be strangled by yet another duty hike and sky-high business rates."

Copyright 2017 EatOut Magazine
Dewberry Redpoint Limited is a company Registered in England and Wales No : 03129594 Registered Office:
John Carpenter House, John Carpenter Street, London EC4Y 0AN, UK, VAT registered, number 586 7988 48.

Design & Development by Eton Digital