Tax on beer is an issue that many of us are worried about because in many cases it is leading to the closure of pubs.
Like you I am sad to see the decline of our pubs, which I agree are at the very heart of our communities and culture. In the past I have proposed setting up a national review of local pubs. I wanted to give local communities more say in protecting their local pubs and what happens in their own town centres.
The Government’s autumn 2017 Budget did freeze beer duty – but only after it had already added 2p per pint in the spring 2017 budget. The Government then froze beer duty in the 2018 Budget but stated that there is no assurance that they would not raise it subsequently.
I am very concerned about the economic challenges facing our pubs and breweries, and to the wider entertainment and hospitality sector from the covid-19 pandemic.
Pubs are at the heart of many of our local communities and are vital social spaces for so many people. They also make a significant contribution to the UK economy and support jobs in every town and city. Covid-19 has had a terrible effect on this part of the economy, leaving many pubs facing economic ruin.
There are ways to try and prevent pubs closing including moving away from business rates towards a land value tax. The British Beer & Pub Association found that pubs pay nearly 3% of business rates despite accounting for just 0.5% of turnover.
Another way to help is enabling communities to purchase pubs that are at risk of closing, in order to protect them as Assets of Community Value.
I support these approaches and will continue to speak about this in Parliament and elsewhere whenever I can.