Suffolk brewery boss joins calls on government to cut beer tax in forthcoming budget
PUBLISHED: 09:34 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:48 24 October 2018
A Suffolk brewery and pubs group boss has joined calls for chancellor Philip Hammond to cut beer tax in his forthcoming budget.
Andy Wood, chief executive of Southwold-based Adnams, warned that pubs, which he argues make a significant contribution to the public purse and are at the heart of many communities, are under pressure, with closure rates hitting three a day.
Pubs were facing increased costs, ever higher taxes, and increased competition from drinking at home, he said.
“Across the eastern region alone we contribute £2.4bn to the economy, employ 85,731 people and pay a whopping £942m a year in tax. Every pub boosts its local economy by an average of £80,000 per year,” he said.
“Despite pub closures at a rate of three a day, we are still home to just short of 4000 pubs and 178 breweries. £1 in every £3 spent in the pub goes straight to the taxman. Hard-pressed British beer drinkers pay 40% of all Europe’s beer duty despite drinking only 12% of the beer.
“Indeed in Europe only Finland and Ireland charge their beer drinkers more than our Chancellor hits us with hefty beer tax rates – we pay almost 12 times more than German beer drinkers.”
Adnams is a member of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and is supporting its Long Live the Local campaign, which is calling for a cut in beer tax to save local pubs in the budget, which takes place on Monday, October 29.
So far, more than 112,000 people have signed the petition to cut beer tax and 45,000 have written to their local MP in support of the campaign.
“As a business that beer tax bill comes straight off our bottom line. It means we literally have less money to invest in our pubs, in sustaining the quality and range of our beers and in keeping our business competitive in the face of all the other cost pressures we face,” said Mr Wood.
“That is why we are supporting consumers in backing the Long Live the Local Campaign as part of Britain’s Beer Alliance – a coalition of brewers, pub owners and beer drinkers – in asking the chancellor to abandon his plans to increase beer tax even further in the budget.”
Mr Wood acknowledged the chancellor had “some tough calls to make”, but called on him to back government rhetoric about supporting business.