CAMRA calls for beer duty freeze at next budget to ease effect of economic uncertainty
The consumer organisation which campaigns for the health of the beer and pub sector is calling on the government to maintain a freeze in beer duty in the upcoming Autumn Statement and consider an additional cut in next year’s budget.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said it is concerned about the continuing effects of the beer duty escalator from 2008-2013, which led to thousands of pub closures and job losses.
In “uncertain” economic times, the organisation said another rise in duty would have a considerable impact on the sector, which is currently seeing pub closures at a rate of 21 per week.
Colin Valentine, CAMRA national chairman, said: “UK pubs and breweries are facing a great deal of uncertainty in the current economic climate. Pubs in particular are facing significant cost burdens, including business rates, pension auto-enrolment and increases to the national living wage.”
The plight of modern pubs is highlighted by the change in consumer drinking habits, with off-trade sales of beer overtaking on-trade sales for the first time in 2015.
“UK beer drinkers paying significantly higher duty on their pint than other leading beer drinking nations, at 52.2p on the pint, we are seeing a significant shift from people drinking in pubs to people drinking at home,” Valentine added.
“Pubs provide a safe, social environment to consume alcohol and in many cases act as the hub to the local community. They can have a huge impact on a person’s well-being and can help individuals make friends and build networks. Their continued existence, and the valued role that they play in society, should remain a priority for this government.”
CAMRA says that further measures are needed to support the UK pub and beer sector and is also calling for a fairer deal for pubs on business rates.