Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has given his support to the campaign to cut beer duty in the upcoming budget.

Beer duty is a tax paid when producing and selling beer and is calculated based on the strength of the alcohol – the Government currently collects around £3.5 billion every year in beer duty.

However, beer duty in Britain is now three times the EU average, with one in every three pounds spent in our pubs going direct to the Treasury. Moreover, British consumers are paying 40% of all the Beer duty in the EU, despite only drinking 12% of the beer, and this growing tax burden is now considered to be the biggest pressure on pubs, according to the campaign group Long Live the Local.

Long Live the Local Said:

“Along with Business rates and VAT, beer duty is putting pubs under enormous pressure; every day pubs are closing their doors for good. And it’s about to get worse. The industry needs a cut in beer duty, but the government is planning an increase. Beer duty is now linked to Retail Price Index (RPI) and that means it’s likely that beer duty will increase by at least 3% at the next Budget and every year for the foreseeable future.

“The last time beer duty increased year on year was between 2008 and 2013 when the government put a beer duty escalator in place. The impact on the beer and pub sector was catastrophic, within 5 years there was a 24% decline in beer sales, 5,000 pubs closed, and 58,000 people lost their jobs.”

These concerns have prompted a Parliamentary campaign, coordinated by Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley. As part of this campaign, Giles and other Members of Parliament have written a joint letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, to ask him to remove the RPI inflationary increases in beer duty, and to cut beer duty in the forthcoming Budget.

Similar campaigns, including a campaign to freeze beer duty in the 2017 Budget, were a great success. But this campaign is hoping to go even further with the first cut to beer duty in recent memory, which would rejuvenate the UK’s pub and hospitality sector – this sector currently supports 900,000 jobs, 44% of which are held by young people.

Read more from Long Live the Local here:

Giles said:

“While the pubs in Clacton have seen a great deal of personal support from me over decades, I was concerned to learn that every day three pubs close down for good. Not only does this impact on those hard-working people who were employed there, it damages the wider supply chain.

“I was pleased that the Government previously froze beer duty increases and it should be noted that Ministers have a positive track record when it comes to supporting our pubs. But now we need a cut in beer duty to ensure that these community assets can survive.”

“Pubs are the beating hearts of many communities up and down the country. They are places where people chat, exchange ideas and, who knows, even discuss politics! They are a vital solution to the increasing isolation created, ironically, by social media. Go to pubs and meet face to face in a great British institution!”