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The chancellor has made Budget announcements which will have a major impact on the hospitality and brewing industries.
The full story, including details of duty rate changes, and cuts and relief for business rate payers, can be found here.
James Calder, chief executive of SIBA
James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said: “The chancellor’s Budget introduced radical changes to the outdated alcohol duty system which will benefit brewers of lower-strength beers, traditional cask beer, and create a more level playing field between small breweries and cider producers.
“The lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs is a huge win for the industry and something which SIBA has been campaigning for. We look forward to working with the Treasury as they implement this landmark policy.
“Whilst hugely beneficial for producers of real ale, which is sold in 40 litre casks, most craft keg beer in the UK is sold in 30l kegs, meaning they cannot benefit. By amending this lower threshold to 20l the Treasury can ensure all independent breweries benefit from this welcome new duty relief on draught beer.
“Furthermore, the freeze in beer duty, taking effect from tonight, is very helpful at a time when brewers are seeing myriad other supply and running costs rising, and the business rates relief for pubs will be welcomed by many in a struggling sector.
“The new small producer relief scheme builds on the hugely successful small breweries relief (SBR) scheme, and we will continue to work constructively with the Treasury to implement positive reform of SBR that does not see small independent breweries worse off.
“Cutting business rates bills for hospitality premises by 50% for the next year is also hugely beneficial, and SIBA would like to see the definition of those premises expanded to cover all breweries, taprooms, bars and pubs.”
Rupert Thompson, owner of Hogs Back Brewery
Rupert Thompson, owner of Hogs Back Brewery, in Surrey, said: “We are very supportive of the Chancellor’s announcements on duty, which are bold, far reaching, and demonstrate a good understanding of why it’s important to avoid damaging, tax-driven market distortions.
“The new draught relief, freeze to the planned increase on beer duty, and the business rates discount, are very much welcomed, and show that the government recognises the special role pubs play at the heart of our communities, and the very heavy costs that they bear. However, anomalies on VAT charged on food in pubs versus supermarkets remain a long-term problem.
“We applaud the move to simplify the duty system, which promises to be much fairer. With smaller cider makers now set to benefit from duty relief on ciders under 8.5% ABV, we support wide consultation and learning from the review of small breweries’ relief. It is important to avoid the unintended anomalies that caused many problems for mid-sized brewers and constrained normal market growth.
“Overall, this is a good Budget for British pubs and British brewers. We will be raising a glass to the chancellor, and once all the details of duty reform are sorted out we may even brew him a special celebratory no-alcohol pint!”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Pubs, brewers and beer drinkers will be toasting the chancellor today for a range of business-boosting measures.
“Pubs pay 2.5% of business rates despite accounting for only 0.5% of rateable turnover — an overpayment of £570m. Cancelling the rates multiplier and cutting rates for pubs by 50% for one year is a much-needed boost to our sector in its fragile recovery.
“The 50% cut to business rates alone will save pubs £169 million. However, the cap of £110,000 per business is a huge dampener and means a significant number of pubs will not benefit from the relief at all. The multiplier freeze will save English pubs £32 million.
“The announcement that business rates revaluations will happen more frequently is also welcome, as is the one-year improvement allowance. However, we remain concerned that for the longer term the inherent unfairness of the business rates system for pubs has not been addressed.
“The chancellor’s decision to freeze beer duty instead of the RPI-linked increase he had planned is to be warmly welcomed. It will save £177m and secure 9,000 vital jobs across the country. Clearly, the chancellor listened to the 134,000 people who signed the Long Live The Local petition, calling on him to support pubs and brewers in the Budget.
“Pub-goers will also be toasting the chancellor today for announcing a 5% lower duty rate on draught beer, worth £62m. This is great news for our local pubs and recognises the crucial role they play in our economy and society. However, the overall beer duty rate in the UK remains amongst the highest in Europe. It is vital for Britain’s brewers, a world-class home-grown manufacturing success story, that the overall beer duty burden is reduced — not just duty on draught beer in pubs.
“Beer is a low-strength product and breweries have invested heavily in developing a range of innovative, exciting, and great tasting low- and no-alcohol beers. We therefore welcome proposals to reduce duty on lower-strength products as part of the proposed modernisation of the alcohol duty regime to better incentivise the consumption of lower-strength drinks.
“Overall, this has been a good Budget for pubs as they recover from the pandemic. The measures announced today will help pubs and breweries play a leading role in levelling up the economy and building stronger, more vibrant communities throughout the country.”
Chris Jowsey, chief executive of Admiral Taverns, said: “This is a fantastic result for wet-led community pubs. Given the extreme difficulties over the past 18 months, it is vital that the cut in draught beer duty is introduced as soon as possible.
“It demonstrates targeted support for a sector particularly hard hit, and it’s good to see the government recognising the meaningful economic and social contribution the pub industry makes. This will give licensees the support needed to rebuild their businesses and continue providing vital support and employment to local areas.”