Pubs and Beer Duty

Example Email Correspondence

Dear Giles Watling,

I'm writing to you today because our pubs are under threat. Pubs are at the heart of British culture and play a vital role in communities across the country. However, many of these pubs are closing, leaving villages, towns and cities without a vital public place where people can socialise.

Pubs are facing a range of tax pressures, including Beer Duty, Business rates and VAT, and today one in every three pounds spent in a pub goes straight to the taxman. That amounts to an average of £140,000 per pub per year.

7 out of 10 alcoholic drinks sold in a pub are beers, so Beer Duty clearly has a big impact on local pubs. The UK has one of the highest Beer Duty rates in the EU, three times the average. We pay almost 40% of all Beer Duty across the EU, whilst drinking only 12% of the beer. In fact British Beer Duty is 12 times more than certain other European countries.

The beer and pub industry contributes greatly to our economy, generating £23bn towards UK GDP each year and supporting over 900,000 jobs. 44% of those employed by pubs are 16-24 year olds, providing vital job opportunities for young people.

We should be supporting our pubs and the wider brewing industry, it's a sector we should be proud of and helping to thrive, not squeezing for as much tax as possible. A cut in beer tax could even pay for itself through keeping pubs open and a boost in taxes from higher employment.

I urge you to write to the Chancellor and ask for a cut in Beer Tax instead of the planned rise, to support our pubs and keep them thriving.


My Reply

Firstly, let me assure you that pubs in Clacton see a great deal of personal support from me and have done over decades!

As announced at the 2017 Autumn Budget, tax on beer, cider, wine and spirits have again be frozen. This follows the removal of the beer duty escalator in 2013 and the unprecedented cuts and freezes in beer duty since then, as well as the removal of the duty escalator for spirits, wine and cider in 2014. When the beer duty escalator was removed in 2013, duty was simultaneously cut by 1p. This was followed by further 1p cuts in both 2014 and 2015, and a freeze in 2016. I am pleased that the Government was able to deliver this, in order to support the brewing industry and local pubs.

I recognise the important contribution that pubs make to our local communities, and that is why I am back the Long Live the Local campaign: 

I also welcome the Government's efforts to support this through the taxation system. A £1,000 discount on business rate bills is being applied in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 for all pubs with a rateable value lower than £100,000. This applies to 90 per cent of pubs and is in recognition of the valuable role they play in our communities.

Moreover, through the Asset of Community Value scheme, communities can list facilities of local importance, including pubs. This means that if a pub owner wishes to sell, the community has six months to come up with a plan and funding in order to try to save it. I am glad that there are now around 2,000 pubs across England listed as assets of community value. I am also pleased that the £3.6 million 'More than a Pub: The Community Business Support Programme', launched in March 2016, is helping to support communities across England to own their local pub. On top of this, the Government continues to support the work of the Pub is The Hub initiative to help landlords diversify and provide essential services, such as village shops and post offices, in order to improve the sustainability of their pub.

I have also written to the Government about this issue, and you can see their reply below.

Rest assured, I fully support the fact that the Government is continuing to look at ways to improve the system of alcohol taxation, to ensure it does not penalise responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries.


Attachment Size
HMT - Beer Duty.pdf 505.74 KB