Beer and pub campaigners cheer duty freeze
The Chancellor's surprise decision to freeze Beer Duty has been welcomed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
Thousands of emails were sent by CAMRA members to MPs ahead of the Budget, which saw the unexpected announcement of a freeze in duty on beer and cider.
Pub-going is increasingly becoming an unaffordable activity for many, driving consumers from their local to supermarkets. With pub closures at 18 per week, pubs are becoming an endangered feature of our high streets, suburbs and villages.
The Chancellor also announced rate relief for businesses with a rateable value under £51,000, which will see rates bills cut by a third for around 90% of independent small business, including pubs.
While this change will see annual savings of up to £8,000 for some pubs, CAMRA is disappointed that pub specific rate relief has been scrapped, meaning that pubs with a rateable value of over £51,000 will lose out. Many of these pubs saw the largest rates increases after the last revaluation, and are struggling under sky-high bills that threaten them with extinction.
Hundreds of CAMRA members will be taking part in a mass lobby tomorrow to reinforce the importance of pubs and encourage MPs to commit to necessary change, including:
- An urgent review of the Pubs Code so that the Market Rent Only option becomes a genuine choice for tenants
- Support introducing a preferential rate of Duty for draught beer
- Commit to reshaping the Business Rates system to address the unfair burden on pubs.
CAMRA’s national chairman, Jackie Parker, said: “A decision to freeze Beer Duty is welcome, and will no doubt go some way to keeping the British pub-going tradition affordable.
“However, the decision to implement the business rates relief for some and not all pubs is not enough to help protect pubs from extinction - we need wholesale reform of the business rates system to tackle the grossly unfair burden placed on pubs.
“There must be long-term change to business rates, Beer Duty and the Pubs Code to secure the future of our treasured locals, and we're looking forward to encouraging MPs to take further action at our Mass Lobby Day tomorrow."