The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing Britain’s Brewers and pubs, has today responded to the publication of the Labour Party manifesto.
The manifesto has outlined that the Labour Party would:
• List pubs as Assets of Community Value so community groups could buy local pubs under threat of closing
• Replace Business Rates with a land value tax
• Introduce four new bank holidays celebrating the four patron saints’ days
• Review the evidence on the effect of minimum unit pricing of alcohol
• Label alcoholic drinks with “clear health warnings”
Emma McClarkin, BBPA's Chief Executive, said, “The Labour Party has rightly noted in its manifesto that too many pubs are closing.
“When it comes to community pubs, what is needed is investment and support. It is important that measures to bolster the rights of individual communities to purchase pubs do not act as a disincentive to invest in or operate a pub business.
McClarkin continued, “Given that seven in ten alcoholic drinks sold in a pub are beer, the most direct way of keeping pubs viable remains a cut in beer duty. 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.
'A further 109,000 people have also written to their MP calling on them to support pubs by cutting beer tax, showing the strength of feeling on the matter, which the next Government must recognise.
“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 Labour’s land value tax will directly help pubs.
“Additional bank holidays will hopefully be a boost for the pub trade, and could be done in tandem with extended hours to give a further uplift.
“Minimum Unit Pricing 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.'
McClarkin concluded, “As an industry, we already clearly label our products with health information including alcohol units and ABV, as well as signposting to Drinkaware where the full guidance on low risk drinking can be found.”