The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is calling for a new deal for pubs in response to fresh data that reveals 18 pubs are being lost every week. It said urgent action was needed to cut the tax burden placed on pubs.
Pubs are being hit by a triple-whammy of one of the highest rates of beer duty in Europe, rapidly rising business rates and VAT, with one-third of the cost of a pint now made up of various taxes, the group stated.
CAMRA welcomed temporary business rate relief and a beer duty freeze but is calling on the government to undertake a fundamental review of the tax system. It said Brexit provided new opportunities to support pubs such as lower rates of tax on draught beer.
CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine said: “Pubs are facing a crippling tax burden, exacerbated by the perfect storm of the last business rates revaluation and a high level of beer duty. From these new pub closure figures, it is clear a fundamental change is needed if the British pub is to survive for future generations.
As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, the government has a unique opportunity to update the tax system to better support pubs, which are a bastion of British culture and at the heart of communities across the country. We can now look further afield for a new tax deal for the sector.
This could include implementing the Australian model of having a lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs, radically changing the business rates system, charging a lower rate of VAT for pubs or, even better, all three. Millions of dedicated pub-goers are looking to the government to act to secure the future of the British pub. We’re challenging the government to be the most pro-pub in history by seizing this opportunity.”
CAMRA’s survey, which covered UK pub closures between 1 July and 31 December 2017, found 413 closures in England during the period, 28 in Scotland and 19 in Wales. A breakdown of regions in England found the most closures were in the south east (62), followed by north west (59), Yorkshire and the Humber (57) and Greater London (52). The region with the fewest closures was the north east (16).