The beer industry has started to speak out against today’s budget after its rallying cries were ignored.
‘The 2 pence increase on beer tax is a blow for the millions of people who enjoy a pint of British beer in their local pub and also for Britain’s 1,800 small brewing businesses across the country,’ Mike Benner, Society of Independent Brewers managing director, said.
‘We called for local brewers and community pubs to be supported with a cut in beer duty to build confidence, enable investment and create jobs in light of increasing costs and uncertainty, but the chancellor’s decision will be a setback.’
Benner was, however, encouraged by the £1,000 reduction in business rates for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000. ‘It is a welcome support for the sector, although much more needs to be done,’ he added.
Sue Cooper, The Little Valley Brewery in Yorkshire, is equally unhappy at today’s announcement. ‘This Budget has been one that is both disappointing and damaging for the beer industry,’ she said.
‘Despite calls from the industry for the Chancellor to cut beer duty, we have been ignored and beer drinkers are now facing a 3% increase in beer duty.
‘This is a huge setback for the brewing and pub industries, which employ around 900,000 people and are already under immense pressure in an ever-competitive environment. Our question to Mr Hammond is simple: how do you expect one of the nation’s strongest and much loved industries to thrive when faced with this adversity?
‘Analysis from Oxford Economics shows that an increase in duty doesn’t create a pot of gold and would in fact put an estimated 5,300 jobs in jeopardy. With this in mind, we find it hard to justify the added pressure from the Government on our industry, which has shaken confidence and removed any reassurance for the future when it is needed most.’