A coalition of major players in the brewing and publican businesses has been gathered to support a 1p cut in beer duty in a move that they state will protect jobs and slow the rate of pub closures, which has picked up in recent years.
If successful, the group – made up of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) – will enjoy a fourth successive cut in the annual Budget. Things also look good for 2016, as the coalition revealed that it had gained signatures from MPs representing five different parties.
This may not be a great surprise; the beer champions have claimed that as many as 19,000 jobs had been created in the modern revival of the craft and real ale brewing tradition, which continues to go from strength to strength in supermarkets and in pubs and bars across the UK.
In an open letter to the government, representatives of SIBA, the BBPA and CAMRA said that they were “delighted” with the support afforded by MPs in recent years, and hoped that it would continue in 2016.
“However, there is still more that can be done,” the group continued. “Beer tax in this country remains far higher than that in our European neighbours. In Germany, for example, the rate of tax on beer is some thirteen times lower than here in the UK. British beer drinkers pay almost 40% of all the beer tax in the EU despite only drinking 12% of the beer.”
It said that the sector was responsible for employing nearly one million in the UK, and pointed to the fact that youth employment hinged on the success of the industry, as nearly half (46%) of those working in pubs are 16 to 24-year-olds.
Tim Page, chief executive of CAMRA, said: “The ending of the beer duty escalator and three consecutive beer duty cuts have kept pubs open and kept the price of a pub pint down. The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) calculated that these changes have saved more than 1,000 pubs from closure benefiting pub goers and communities throughout the UK. Britain’s 15 million regular pub goers will be hoping for a fourth beer duty cut in March’s Budget.”