The Treasury has issued a questionnaire for all UK brewers with the aim of understanding how small breweries’ relief (SBR) is working and what reform might be required.

Brewers should receive an invitation to complete this questionnaire either today or tomorrow, with their January/February beer returns. 

James Calder, head of public affairs at the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said: “SBR is a great success story. HM treasury want to hear from brewers on how well SBR is working and how it could be improved. All options are on the table.

“The Treasury will act on the evidence they receive during this review and from this questionnaire. It could mean positive reform, which protects small brewers and incentivises growth, or if brewers fail to act, it could not. 

“It’s vitally important that as many small brewers as possible have their say in this questionnaire.”

SIBA’s position on small breweries’ relief

• No brewer should lose any duty relief as a result of the review

• SIBA will continue to defend SBR at the maximum legally permitted level of 50% duty relief for all brewers below 5,000hl. There is no political, economic or rational case for removing any relief from any small brewer.

• SIBA wants to see positive reform of the curve above 5,000hl, making it easier to grow a business by removing the ‘cliff edge’ as relief is rapidly withdrawn. 

• Small Breweries’ Relief at current levels is essential to the future — 83% of SIBA members say it is ‘extremely important’ to their business, 5% ‘very important’ and a further 8% consider it ‘important’.

• All brewers are urged to give the Treasury this evidence, bearing in mind that some are very keen to secure reform which would harm smaller businesses.

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