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Cut beer tax campaign moves into Parliament

The campaign for a cut in beer tax in the Budget moved into Parliament, yesterday, with a well-attended debate in Westminster Hall sponsored by Mike Wood MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliament Beer Group.

MPs from all parties spoke in support of fairer tax treatment for the sector. In response, Treasury Minister Andrew Jones recognized the challenges facing the sector, and undertook to ensure its views were heard.

Using data published by the BBPA, Mike Wood MP highlighted the 900,000 people who rely on the industry for work. Forty-six per cent or which are young people. Nationally, the sector adds nearly £23bn to the economy, paying £13bn in taxation. However, the return to a retail prices index-linked rise in this March’s Budget was disappointing, he told MPs. He also said that a look was needed at whether Small Brewer Relief, as currently framed, is preventing some brewers from expansion.

Whilst the debate was taking place, some 40 MPs attended a drop-in event with the British Beer & Pub Association, to hear about the huge positive impact of brewing and pubs in their constituencies, and to receive a special briefing on the business rates burden being shouldered by pubs in their own patch.

The BBPA is calling for wholesale reform of rates, and an extension of the current, pub-specific relief. MPs were photographed with a special chalk board, with unique statistics for their own areas.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds, who hosted the event, commented, “It was great to hear so much cross-party support for beer and pubs from MPs in Parliament yesterday. The campaign has achieved widespread recognition that the sector is greatly overtaxed, and that further tax rises in the Budget are unsustainable.

'We now need the Government to turn this goodwill into action, with a cut in beer tax and further action on business rates in the Budget on 22nd November.”