The Society of Independent Brewers and Associates (SIBA) has published a manifesto for its sector ahead of the upcoming general election.

SIBA manifesto

SIBA is urging the next government to adopt 11 policies covering four key areas of market fairness, fair taxation, reforming alcohol taxation, and improving the environment.

These, the organisation says, will help to remove barriers to growth, ensure that independent breweries remain competitive, and help them to make the most of the move to Net Zero.

“This manifesto puts improving fairness for independent brewing at its core and is full of initiatives that we hope that all political parties will consider as they draw up their plans for the next government ahead of the general election,” said SIBA chief executive Andy Slee.

“Independent breweries operate at the heart of our communities, supporting our local pubs and delivering innovative, fresh, and tasty beer. However, they are constrained by a lack of access to market and a tax system that burdens small businesses.

“We believe that, with government support, we could boost the sector and ensure that independent brewing continues to thrive across the UK.”

The manifesto: key points

Market Fairness

  • Guest beer guarantee: Guarantee a guest beer in pubs to widen consumer choice and support local brewers
  • Transparent ownership: Make it clear on all advertising who brews the beer and where so that consumers know which beers are genuinely made by independent brewers in the UK 

Fair taxation regime

  • Lower tax burden: Reduce the tax burden on small breweries to help them to grow
  • Freeze beer duty: Commit to at least a long-term freeze of the main headline beer duty rate
  • Business rate reform: Real reform of business rates, including a review of the differential paid between global and small breweries

Reform alcohol taxation

  • Review alcohol duty system: Keep the promise to fully review the new alcohol duty system within three years to ensure the reforms work for all small producers
  • Make duty fair: Equalise the tax treatment of beer with cider so that global cider producers pay their fair share of alcohol duty
  • Make it 20%: Increase the draught duty relief to at least 20% to boost our community pubs

Improving our environment

  • Workable DRS: A fully interoperable deposit return scheme with the same scope and criteria across the UK which works for small breweries
  • Design policies with small businesses in mind: A commitment that the design of new government green policies takes into account small businesses
  • Help to go green: Provide assistance designed and available for small producers to help them make the transition to Net Zero

The full manifesto can be read here.

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