Thursday, 16 November 2017 20:17

Chancellor urged to keep pubs afloat

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Chancellor urged to keep pubs afloat

MPs have called on the Government for a Budget they say would help keep pubs rural in business.

A letter signed by 50 cross-party MPs calls on the Chancellor to freeze beer duty for the rest of this Parliament and introduce an annual £5,000 business rate relief for pubs.

It follows a parliamentary debate in which 24 MPs urged the government to ease the growing tax burden on pubs, which are on average paying nearly £140,000 in taxes every year.

The Campaign for Real Ale says Britain has lost 28,000 pubs since the 1970s – many of them in rural communities.

CAMRA chief executive Tim Page said: "Pubs play a hugely important role in our social lives and the cohesion of their local communities.

"They act as a common meeting ground for friends, family and colleagues alike, helping to bring people from all walks of life together.

In many areas they are the last remaining public meeting space, with so many libraries and meeting halls already lost.

"Yet pubs cannot continue to shoulder such a massive tax burden and ultimately it is the consumer that is affected when the price of a pint goes up.

We need the Treasury to act now by delivering a Budget for Britain's pubs."

Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group said: "Nearly one million people work in this industry and the sector contributes £23 billion to our economy."

The Treasury should be very grateful for the £13 billion of taxes that it pays, he added.

Mr Wood said: "The beer duty escalator increased beer duty by a staggering 42% over six years.

"During this time, the annual decline in sales of beer in pubs nearly doubled and 7,000 pubs called time for good with over 58,000 beer-dependent jobs being lost.

"We cannot let this happen again.

"Loading any extra taxes onto pubs risks leading to more pubs closing - putting future tax revenues at risk."

Labour MP Ruth Smeeth, who is vice-chair of the beer group, said: "The last Budget put 2p on a pint and another increase would be a return to the beer duty escalator by the backdoor.

"We must not let this happen."

Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd, who is also a vice-chair of the beer group, said: "It would be incredibly short-sighted for the government to allow these wonderful community assets to be strangled by yet another duty hike and sky-high business rates."

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