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26th February 2021

68 Conservative MPs sign letter urging Rishi Sunak to cut Beer Duty

Prominent Backbench Conservative MPs led by Richard Holden make Budget plea to Chancellor 

A letter signed by 68 Conservative MPs has been sent to HM Treasury today, imploring the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to cut beer duty in his upcoming Budget statement on March 3rd.

The initiative was driven by Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, a prominent member of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and a celebrated Long Live The Local Beer Champion.

It follows concerted calls from the beer and pub sector for increased support from the Chancellor in his Budget following the announcement of the Prime Minister’s roadmap to reopening, which confirmed that pubs will not be able to fully open inside and outside without trading restrictions until mid-June at the earliest.

The British Beer & Pub Association has said the very cautious reopening of pubs will cost the sector £1.5 billion in lost trade in April alone, as 3 in 5 pubs will not be able to open or be viable with outside service only. It says that even when pubs can reopen indoors from mid-May at the earliest, they will still be significantly down on business due to remaining trading restrictions.

The UK pays £3.6 billion in Beer Duty each year – more than Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands & Ireland combined. British beer drinkers pay 11 times more duty on beer than those in Germany as well as Spain * Seven in ten alcoholic drinks sold in a pub are beers, underlining how important beer sales are to pub turnover. At present, £1 in every £3 spend in a pub goes to HM Treasury in a range of taxes including Beer Duty.

To date, more than 500,000 people have signed the Long Live The Local petition calling on The Government to cut Beer Duty. More than 275,000 people have also written to their local MP asking them to urge the Chancellor to cut Beer Duty

Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham said:

“Our pubs are at the heart of our communities and lockdown has hit them harder than any other sector. Whilst the government support has been welcome, it has not made up for the massive impact of being closed for so long on these vital local institutions. The best way for them to build back better after this crisis is to get people back into pubs and the best encouragement for publicans and the public is to see real action on beer duty.”

Welcoming their support, David Cunningham, Programme Director for Long Live The Local, said:

 “We have gathered more than 500,000 signatures and 275,000 people have written to their MP since the campaign started. Each signature and email represent someone who cares deeply about pubs and breweries and wants the Government to ensure they can continue to play a vital role in their local community and economy. I`m pleased to see so many MPs have recognised how much their constituents want to see a cut in Beer Duty.” 

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, added:

“Pubs are the heart of our communities and a vital part of the UK economy, with a presence in just about every city, town and village across the country. Amid this crisis though they face an existential threat, and thousands could be lost for good.

“It is up to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to deliver the support our pubs and brewers need. That includes a beer duty cut that allows them to survive and thrive in the future. I hope he listens to our sector and those on his backbenches pleading him to do the right thing.”


Notes to editors


Please find a copy of the letter sent here:


*Brits pay more than 54p (54.2p) in duty on every pint of beer they enjoy (5% ABV) Comparatively, in Spain and Germany the beer duty rates amount to just 5p per pint (5.1p and 4.6p respectively) – which means the UK pays eleven times more! Only Finland and Ireland pay higher rates in Beer Duty. 

The UK has the highest beer duty bill in Europe; UK paid £3.624 Billion in 2019 more than France (£840M) Germany (£579M) Ireland (£380M) Italy (£629M) & Spain (£313m) combined (£3.522 Billion)

Long Live The Local is a campaign, backed by Britain’s Beer Alliance. It launched in 2018 to celebrate the vital social, cultural & economic role pubs and breweries have in Britain. It also highlighted the jeopardy that they face from a range of tax pressures, calling specifically for a cut in Beer Duty. So far, the campaign has gathered almost 500,000 signatures and more than 275,000 emails have been sent to MPs asking for a cut In Beer Duty.

With the threat of further increases in beer duty in the Budget in Spring 2021, more than 130,000 people have signed a new petition and almost 100,000 have written to their MP.

Britain’s Beer Alliance was formed in 2014 to promote beer and pubs and encourage collaboration across the industry. The Alliance consists of independent pubs, pub companies, regional, independent and international breweries. In addition, 25,000 pubs have actively supported the campaign.

Press release from the BBPA