The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) today expressed disappointment that the Chancellor has not pressed ahead with a review of the controversial beer duty escalator in his Autumn Statement. Last month, MPs were unanimous in calling for a review in a parliamentary debate on the policy, which has seen the tax on beer rise by 42 per cent since the March 2008 Budget. The British Beer & Pub Association says that the policy is damaging British pubs and brewers.
The BBPA has welcomed the extension of small business rate relief to April 2014, which will support pubs, as will other measures to support business. However, the lack of action on beer duty comes as the Government has cancelled a rise in fuel duty – an admission, says the BBPA, that automatic tax hikes are an inappropriate way to manage tax policy in vital parts of the UK economy. With around 1 million UK jobs dependant on the brewing and pub sector the BBPA wants a similar approach for beer.”
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “This is a missed opportunity – employment could be boosted by 5,000, this year alone, with a freeze in Beer Tax – mostly jobs for younger people in Britain’s pubs. The Coalition should distance itself from the previous Government’s tax policy, and the Chancellor should now heed calls from MPs of all parties for a review.
“However, there are announcements to welcome. As an industry that pays £11 billion in taxes each year – including excise duty, VAT, national insurance, business rates and corporation taxes – the beer and pub sector also supports the Government’s intention to ensure that all businesses contribute their fair share to support the economy.
“It is also reassuring to see that Government acknowledges that money does need to be invested in enforcement to crack down on tax avoidance, rather than lumbering UK businesses with the bill.”
Notes to editors:
The British Beer & Pub Association is the UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector. Its members account for 96 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and own half of Britain’s 50,000 pubs.
Beer duty was increased by 5 per cent in the March 2012 Budget. The total increase in beer duty since March 2008 stands at 42 per cent. The Government’s controversial beer tax ‘escalator’ policy means increases of two per cent above inflation until 2014/15.
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