The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing Britain’s Brewers and pubs, has today responded to the publication of the Liberal Democrat’s manifesto.
The manifesto has outlined that the Liberal Democrats would:
• Review the UK excise duty structure to better support whisky exports
• Replace Business Rates in England with a Commercial Landowner Levy based solely on the land value of commercial sites rather than their entire capital value
• Introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol, taking note of the impact of the policy in Scotland
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said, “Any review of UK alcohol taxation must include beer – a lower-strength, British-made product.
“Beer tax is a particular burden for pubs as 7 out of 10 alcoholic drinks sold in them are beer and we pay 11 times more beer duty than Spain or Germany.
“With three pubs a day closing their doors for good, cutting or freezing beer duty as part of a review of UK alcohol taxation is essential. This would answer the call of the 220,000 people who have signed the Long Live the Local petition calling on the next Chancellor to cut beer duty, supporting local pubs and the communities they serve.
“The current business rates system is hugely unfair on pubs – they pay 2.8% of the business rates bill, despite accounting for just 0.5% of turnover. A complete overhaul of the existing system is required, but at this stage it is not clear if the Liberal Democrat’s Commercial Landowner Levy will directly help pubs.'
McClarkin concluded, “The impact of Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland should be carefully evaluated before a proposal is considered in England. Particularly as it has only been in place in Scotland for just over a year.”