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A cut in beer duty will be enjoyed by hardworking people – and it also supports a great British Industry

On 25/03/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

The suggestion that a cut in beer duty helps hardworking British people is backed up by a recent YouGov survey commissioned as part of our Budget campaign. It found that almost a fifth of workers were put off going out to the pub until pay day, because they could not afford it. It also found that there was huge support (69 per cent) amongst the UK adult population for a cut or freeze in beer duty.

These views were clearly understood by both the Chancellor and Nicky Morgan the Economic Secretary when they again cut beer duty by 2 per cent in last week’s Budget.

However, they saw the economic arguments, too.

Beer is a British manufacturing industry which suffered a 42 per cent increase in tax on its product between 2008 and 2012. Nearly 90 percent of beer produced in this country is drunk here and yet British brewers hardly make 2p a pint.

Why is beer important to pubs? Because beer accounts for seven out of ten alcoholic drinks sold in pubs. Draft ale on such a large scale is unique to the UK. It is one of the reasons why, according to Visit Britain, going to a pub is third on the list of things to do for overseas visitors.

Brewing and pubs support almost one million jobs in the UK. Of these jobs, 20,000 are in agriculture; 40 per cent of UK malting barley is used in British beer and brewers also use British hops and malt. In pubs, there are 600,000 employees. 46 per cent are under the age of 25 and over 50 per cent are women. If more people go to the pub, pubs will hire more staff. With the first duty cut last year, ten thousand jobs were saved.

Brewers and pubs have proved to the Treasury that not only can they build on the confidence provided in last year’s cut – some £400 million was invested in capex last year - but they can also increase exports. Beer exports were worth £629 million in 2013 and are up 24 per cent, outside the EU, since 2008.

Going back to the survey, 80% of the UK adult population wanted wider taxes on pubs to be frozen or cut. Yes, this is a popular measure, but it is also provides very serious and important support for a British Industry which contributes some £22 billion in gross value added to the UK economy.


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