Ahead of the general election, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has published a manifesto for the brewing and pub industry, outlining its priorities over the next five years.
Unlocking growth and investment is key to meeting the challenges of Brexit, the manifesto says. Specific priorities designed to do just that include action on beer duty, and wholesale reform of the business rates system.
To tackle high rates of UK beer taxation, the manifesto calls for at least a freeze in beer duty over the course of the next Parliament. There are also calls for a more competitive tax regime that encourages consumption of lower-strength drinks, supports the British pub, and promotes innovation and choice for consumers.
As the UK leaves the European Union, a free trade deal with the EU without additional paperwork is vital for beer imports and exportsm says the BBPA, with greater government support needed to foster beer exports in overseas markets.
Investment in training and skills, and access to those with the right skills, is key, the manifesto adds, including an immigration system that supports the necessary staffing levels for the sector.
Alongside beer duty, action is needed on other taxes and red tape. The BBPA is calling for a wholesale review of business rates, but in the interim, an expansion of pub-specific rates relief, to £5,000 per pub.
BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “Our manifesto sets out the key priorities for our sector for the general election. As a vital industry employing around 900,000 people, we will be using it to engage with serving politicians and candidates throughout the campaign.
“I hope candidates in all parties will recognise the importance of brewing and pubs to our communities and the economy, and help promote the policies needed to create sustainable growth in the sector.”