A cross-parliamentary group of MPs has urged the government to reduce tax burdens on pubs and brewers, to help them get back on their feet after a particularly difficult year for hospitality.
The All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG), which is made up 16 MPs from various parties, has urged the government to consider lowering duty, VAT or business rates for pubs and breweries, including looking at lowering duty on draught beers, which are exclusively available in licensed premises.
The Treasury is currently reviewing alcohol duty, and the work is expected to be finished during the summer.
Mike Wood, APPBG chair and Conservative MP for Dudley South, said halving the duty on draught beers – a cut of 22p on an average strength pint – would be a £600m shot in the arm to help save pubs and breweries.
“The quintessential British pub has never been more vital to our communities than it is today, as we emerge from the dark isolation of the past 14 months,” Wood said.
“Unfortunately, in order to survive and thrive, the industry needs government to go ever further in its support extending and building on some of the measures introduced after March 2020.”
The pandemic has already led to the closure of 2,000 pubs and breweries in the UK, and saddled surviving brewers and pub owners with enormous debts.
The MPs also urged government to press ahead with the roadmap for reopening as planned, despite warnings from scientists who believe moving forward could lead to a third wave of the Covid-19 virus in the UK.
Kelly McCarthy, landlady of the Ye Old Sun Inn in Tadcaster and chair of the Yorkshire section of the British Institute of Innkeeping, said: “In March 2020 it felt like our world had fallen apart. Now, the pubs need a cut in duty to bring them back into the spotlight. To do that, we need the support of the government.
“It’s essential that the government presses ahead with the roadmap out of lockdown and plans for 21 June. How can businesses plan without that certainty?”
A Treasury spokesperson said: “At Budget we froze beer duty for the 4th year in a row and extended support schemes including furlough, business rates relief, grants and VAT cuts to ensure the hospitality sector is supported in the months ahead.”