Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, British Beer & Pub Association, has today responded to the announcements made in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement:
“We understand action to help those on low pay, but given the current economic uncertainty there is a real need to look at the cost pressures facing pubs. Increases in the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage represent challenges for our sector, particularly in pubs, where labour costs are high, at between 14 and 25 per cent of operating costs.
“The doubling of Rural Rate Relief provides a welcome correction to an anomaly that would have penalised rural pubs, with pubs that qualify now able to claim 100 per cent relief on their business rates through the rural relief scheme.
“Whilst we support the reduction in the cap on transitional rate relief, the BBPA and other industry bodies had written to the Chancellor calling for broader support on business rates, prior to his announcement today. We want to see enhanced relief for pubs that will be hit hardest by the 2017 revaluation, and an overall review of how rates impact on Britain’s pubs.
“There have been no increases in beer duty rates, which is welcome, but duty accounts for up to 50 per cent of the costs of a UK brewer and remains a concern for the industry. Our rate of beer duty in Britain is considerably higher than all other major European brewing nations, and we are now calling on the Chancellor to cut beer duty in the 2017 Spring Budget, and tackle the unfair burden it places on Britain’s beer drinkers, publicans and brewers.”
SIBA responded to what it called a ‘mixed fortunes’ Autumn Statement with the following comment from Managing Director Mike Benner:
“SIBA welcome the Chancellor’s decision not to increase beer duty and support independent British breweries and pubs at a challenging time, but we had hoped for more support on business rates for pubs. We are calling for further cuts to beer duty in the Budget 2017 and beyond to help repair the damage caused by the beer duty escalator between 2008 and 2012 which lead to increases in beer duty of 42% and saw beer sales in pubs fall by 24%. The industry supports almost one million British jobs and deserves further support to enable it to continue to bring pleasure to millions of people.”
In response to the Autumn Statement, Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says:
“CAMRA welcomes the Chancellor’s decision not to raise beer duty in the Autumn Statement. Pubs are under a huge amount of financial pressure and with UK beer drinkers paying 52.2p of duty on their pint we are seeing more and more people choosing to drink at home rather than at their local. This trend not only hurts UK businesses, but is also contributing to the demise of our communities and affects people’s personal wellbeing.”
He adds: “While a freeze in beer duty is welcome, CAMRA would like to see the Government do more to reverse the damage done by the beer duty escalator by cutting duty in the 2017 Budget.”