WSTA and CAMRA call on government to rethink alcohol duty hike to protect pubs

Alys Key
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Pubs are facing hikes in their running costs as alcohol duty continues to rise (Source: Getty)

Two leading bodies in the drinks industry have urged the government to rethink alcohol duty and other taxes to help protect British pubs.

British pubs are facing a tax raid of £1bn over the next five years, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

The projected 18 per cent rise in alcohol duty by 2022 could mean every pub landlord in the UK hit with an additional duty bill of £4,374 in that time.

The WSTA has written to communities secretary Sajid Javid, who has overall responsibility for pubs, to express its concerns. The body calculated that changes to alcohol duty will add an extra £110m a year to pub bills by 2022 just for wine and spirits.

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“Our research shows that wine and spirits contribute nearly a third to a landlord’s alcohol income," said Miles Beal, chief executive of the WSTA. "The Government should be supporting landlords, not punishing them, and the best way to do that is to axe planned duty rises on all alcoholic drinks.”

At the same time, new research from YouGov out today has found that 55 per cent of people believe beer duty is too high.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has called for the government to freeze beer duty, which is currently 54p per pint.

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Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says: “Pubs are a huge part of many people’s lives. If people can’t afford to visit their local, we will see even more pubs close their doors forever - hurting jobs, the local economy and the community. We urgently need to ease the tax burden on our pubs in order to ensure that pub-going remains an affordable activity for the majority of Brits.”

Yesterday, CAMRA also warned that viable community pubs were being driven out of business by increasing business rates.

The organisation called for relief of £5,000 a year to be made available to individual pubs, building on the government's existing £1,000 rates reduction.

CAMRA said business rates were contributing to the high rate of pub closures in the UK.

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