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Cut beer tax campaign’s big day in Parliament

Cut beer tax campaign’s big day in Parliament

The campaign for a cut in beer tax in the Budget moved into Parliament on Tuesday, 31 October, with a debate in Westminster Hall sponsored by Mike Wood MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliament Beer Group.

MPs from all parties spoke in support of fairer tax treatment for the sector. In response, Treasury Minister Andrew Jones recognised the challenges facing the sector, and undertook to ensure its views were heard.

Using data published by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Mike Wood MP highlighted the 900,000 people who rely on the industry for work, 46% of whom are young people. Nationally, the sector adds nearly £23 billion to the economy, paying £13 billion in taxation. However, the return to a retail prices index-linked rise in this March’s Budget was disappointing, he told MPs. Wood also said that a look was needed at whether Small Brewer Relief, as currently framed, is preventing some brewers from expansion.

While the debate was taking place, some 40 MPs attended a drop-in event with the BBPA, to hear about the huge positive impact of brewing and pubs in their constituencies, and to receive a special briefing on the business rates burden being shouldered by pubs in their own patch.

The BBPA is calling for wholesale reform of rates, and an extension of the current, pub-specific relief. MPs were photographed with a special chalkboard, with unique statistics for their own areas.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds, who hosted the event, comments: “It was great to hear so much cross-party support for beer and pubs from MPs in Parliament. The campaign has achieved widespread recognition that the sector is greatly overtaxed, and that further tax rises in the Budget are unsustainable. We now need the Government to turn this goodwill into action, with a cut in beer tax and further action on business rates in the Budget on 22 November.” 

The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. The BBPA’s members account for some 90% of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.

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