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4th March 2024

Prime Minister Urged To Help Brewers & Pubs On Visit To Aberdeen


As the Prime Minister addresses Scottish Conservative Party conference in Aberdeen, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) have called on him to help save Scottish pubs at next week’s budget by reducing beer duty and VAT for the sector.

Scottish pubs have closed at twice the rate of their counterparts in England, partly due to the lack of business rates support, and the sector is now calling on UK Government to what it can to help stem the flow of closures by reducing beer duty and introducing a lower VAT rate for hospitality businesses.

Commenting, Emma McClarkin, CEO of the SBPA said:

“Scotland’s pubs are the lifeblood of communities up and down the country, but they are closing at an alarming rate. Urgent action is needed at next week’s budget to help them survive the current cost-of-living crisis and myriad of increased costs they face. 

“Beer remains the most prominent product sold in our pubs but is currently taxed at 12 times the rate of Germany. Due to that high tax rate, alongside other costs, the average pub income on a pint of lager is only 12p, whilst £1.52 is paid in tax to the UK Government. Reducing beer duty, alongside the introduction of a lower VAT rate for pubs would provide a tremendous boost to the industry, as well as for pub-goers. 

“The lack of business rates support afforded to Scottish pubs means that support next week is crucial to help stem the flow of closures experienced over the last year.”



Net Pub Closure Rates 2023

England -0.9%
Scotland -2.0%
Wales -2.1%

BBPA Analysis

Cost of a 4.5% ABV Pint

Average cost: £4.80

Tax: £1.52 (80p VAT; 49p duty; 11p NDR; 12p employment/other)

Other Costs: £3.16 (£1.24 cost of sales; 91p wages; 24p utilities; 77p other costs)

Pub income: 12p

Contact: Paul Togneri,

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