There has been a generally warm reaction to the Chancellor’s decision to freeze beer duty in the Budget, after heavy campaigning from industry groups.

There was a welcome, too, for news that business rates will be cut by a third for companies with a rateable value of £51,000 or less over the next two years.

UK Hospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls — describing Philip Hammond’s speech as a positive Budget for hospitality — said: “We estimate the measures announced in the Budget, as a result of our campaigns, are likely to save the trade £750m.”

She said the introduction of a new tax on digital businesses needed to be a springboard for further business rates reform.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said “this early Christmas present” would save brewers, pubs and pub-goers £110m and secure upwards of 3,000 jobs that would have been lost had beer duty gone up.

 

‘Big step in right direction’

 

BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “Pubs are so important to their local communities and 82% of the beer we drink here is brewed in the UK. This is a big step in the right direction and a huge help for pubs across the UK that are struggling. 

“I hope we can continue to build on this success in the future and we will continue to celebrate the vital role that local pubs play in communities and highlight the ongoing pressures they face by supporting the Long Live the Local campaign.”

The Chancellor also announced a review of small brewers’ relief. Mike Benner, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said: “SIBA, as the voice of British Independent brewing, will be front and centre in working with Treasury to usher in the next chapter of SBR.

“We will ensure the smallest breweries are protected, growth is incentivised and the sustainability of UK brewing is the centrepiece of reform.”

He added: “Small brewers looking to take on an apprentice will welcome the employer contribution being halved from 10% to 5%. We need more skilled people to keep the beer flowing and this proposal will help to train the next generation of brewers and brewsters.”

George Arkell, managing director of Arkell’s Brewery, said: “We welcome today’s news of the freeze on beer duty. The government’s support in the growth and innovation of our sector has enabled us to make strong investments in our brewery in recent years, which is reflected in the quality and selection of beer we make.

“This is a positive thumbs up in the government’s confidence in pubs and breweries, and the crucial social and economic contribution they make to the UK.”

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