Cutting the beer duty in the March budget will inspire investment and protect jobs during uncertain times

Courtney Goldsmith
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The beer duty accounts for up to 50 per cent of the costs of a UK brewer, BBPA has said.
The beer duty accounts for up to 50 per cent of the costs of a UK brewer, BBPA has said. (Source: Getty)

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has called on the government to cut the beer duty to encourage investment, protect jobs and improve confidence in the sector.

Beer duty was frozen in the last Autumn Statement, but the BBPA said the industry is struggling: the UK's beer duty is higher than those in other European countries.

Now, the BBPA has released research from Oxford Economics (OE) ahead of the spring Budget in March. It says the figures prove the need for a beer duty cut to protect jobs and investment during uncertain times as the UK leaves the European Union.

The sector contributes £23.1bn to the British economy, which the report said was the same as 70 per cent of the entire Northern Ireland economy.

It also supports nearly 900,000 jobs to the sector, 42 per cent of which are for under-25s.​ Brewing alone employs over 100,000 people, while the UK's 49,000 pubs supply the other nearly 800,000. The industry pays £12.6bn in tax.

Since OE's last report on the industry in January 2015, the number of jobs has grown by 29,000, while capital investment in brewing and pubs has risen to £2bn up from £1.2bn.

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said:

Three historic beer duty cuts since 2013 have brought huge benefits, created jobs and encouraged investment, but our rate of duty is still many times higher than that of our neighbouring countries.

As we leave the European Union, we need a tax system that encourages investment more than ever before, and we will be working hard to encourage the Government to secure further reductions on 8th March.

According to the BBPA, 7,000 pubs closed and 58,000 jobs were lost under the beer duty escalator from 2008 to 2013, which pushed beer tax up 42 per cent.

Read more: Hold the freeze please: Here's the booze sector's Autumn Statement wishlist

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