The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is stepping up its push to keep the price of a pint down for millions of UK pub-goers, calling on the Treasury to reduce beer duty by 1p a pint in next month’s budget.
With inflation expected to rise in the next year, Camra said the cut would help to cap the price of beer, helping consumers’ cash to go further while boosting the pubs and brewing sector.
Beer drinkers are already being hit in the pocket, with Heineken and Carlsberg last month becoming the latest brewers to raise prices, following MolsonCoors – maker of the UK’s most popular beer, Carling – and ABInBev. The weak pound has also driven up the cost of imported raw materials such as hops, which could threaten Britain’s craft beer industry.
Beer duty campaigners have had some success in recent years with three consecutive penny cuts to duty and a subsequent freeze, but Camra points out that the UK is still paying among the highest rates of beer duty in Europe at 52.2p on a pint. This compares to other big brewing nations such as Germany and Spain, who enjoy their beer at under 5p of duty on a pint.
The brewing and pubs sector now supports nearly 900,000 UK jobs, and contributes £23.6bn to the economy every year. Camra is also calling for a reduction of up to £5,000 in business rates for pubs in England.
“It is clear that previous cuts to beer duty have benefited beer drinkers and supported significant growth in the brewing industry,” said Colin Valentine, Camra’s national chairman. “However, we as a nation are still paying a notable amount – especially in comparison with our European neighbours. At the same time, pubs are confronted with higher taxation and costs.”
The Wine and Spirits Association is calling on the chancellor to cut wine and spirits duty by 2% as another way to help pubs. Wine and spirit sales in UK pubs accounted for 36% of the takings and were worth £5.7bn last year, it said.
Miles Beale, WSTA’s chief executive, said: “While the government has focused on beer cuts previously to support British pubs, this is only a job half done. Wine and spirits are ever more important to the British pub and the chancellor can do his bit to support them and landlords by cutting duty by 2%.”