The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is urging Rishi Sunak to commit to cutting the tax charged on beer served on tap in pubs and social clubs in the next Budget, to help them rebuild their businesses once covid restrictions are lifted. 

Nik Antona CAMRA
CAMRA chairman Nik Antona

Reducing the tax on beer depending on how it is served is now an option the government can take to support the industry now that the UK has left the European Union. This move would help make pub-going more competitive against booze on offer at supermarkets. 

The consumer organisation has written to the chancellor to ask him to consider a package of measures ahead of the March Budget, which includes:  

  • Ongoing, regular grant payments to help pubs and social clubs cover costs when they are forced to close or operate at a reduced capacity 
  • Continuing the furlough scheme as long as pubs and clubs are subject to trading restrictions 
  • Making sure that brewers and cider producers are eligible for support schemes 
  • Announcing another business rates holiday for 2021/22 
  • Extending the VAT reduction to beer to support wet-led pubs 

CAMRA has commissioned research which found that a modest reduction in tax on draught beer could result in £26.6m of additional expenditure on draught beer, bringing alcohol consumption back to into the social setting of our pubs, creating jobs, and boosting the economy in the process.  

Rebuild businesses

CAMRA’s chairman, Nik Antona, said: “The next Budget is an ideal time for the government to announce some much-needed long-term financial support to help the beer and pubs industry recover from the covid crisis. 

“As well as ongoing support whilst restrictions on trading remain, we would like to see a long-term change to the way beer is taxed to reduce the price of a pint specifically for pub-goers. This move would help pubs rebuild their businesses, compete with cheap supermarket booze and secure their future at the heart of our communities. 

“It would also encourage responsible drinking in the supervised setting of community pubs, with all the social and mental health benefits that come with it. 

“We hope that the chancellor will listen to our campaign and commit to reducing tax on the pint in the pub, helping our locals at a time when they need it most.” 

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