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British Pub-Going Tradition At Risk Of Dying Out As Beer Prices Soar

The tradition of going to the pub is becoming an unaffordable luxury for the majority of Brits as new research shows that just 15% of UK beer drinkers now think that the price of a pint in the UK is either very or fairly affordable.

CAMRA will be presenting its Budget submission including research, conducted by YouGov to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, ahead of November’s Budget. The campaign organisation is calling for a permanent £5,000 business rate relief for all pubs in England as well as a freeze, or reduction in, beer duty for the rest of this Parliament. With four in 10 pubs experiencing a rise to their business rates, CAMRA warns that without urgent action, thousands of community pubs could be wiped off the map.

CAMRA research has found that in some cases English pubs will need to sell more than 20,000 extra pints of beer every year to cover the rises in their business rates, which will lead many landlords to either put up their prices to make up the cost or close their doors forever. Yet as prices at the bar continue to rise, many pub-loving Brits are finding they can only afford to drink at home.

Colin Valentine CAMRA’s National Chairman said: “The British pub is unique, and has been rooted in Britain’s history for hundreds of years. All the evidence shows that drinking alcohol in moderation in the company of others is good for people’s wellbeing, yet the opportunity to get together and enjoy a beer is being taken away from swathes of people on lower and middle incomes, who are increasingly viewing a pub pint as an unaffordable luxury.

“Many landlords are in a tricky situation in that they are forced to either raise their prices or close their doors forever. It is the people on lower incomes will be hit the hardest, and will then choose to drink at home. In addition, thousands of local pubs are at risk of closure, bringing devastating consequences for their local communities.

“The Chancellor must take urgent action in this Budget if we are to keep pub-going a social activity open to all and prevent local pubs from being wiped off the map.”

CAMRA is also calling for a freeze or reduction in beer duty for the rest of this Parliament. Other key evidence contained in CAMRA’s evidence to the Chancellor includes:

  • On average, each pub pays nearly £140,000 in taxes each year
  • Around 37% per cent of the total cost of a pint is now made up of taxes
  • The UK pays nearly 40% of all beer duty in the EU but only consumes around 12% of the beer

Christo Tofalli landlord of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks said: “We are re-launching our campaign to scrap the unfair tax burden on pubs and are therefore calling for an urgent fundamental review into the business rates system with an immediate freeze on rates until the review is finished. We cannot wait five years.

“To put it simply, pubs are at the point of no return. Our pub’s massive 47% increase in business rates is nothing in comparisons to our neighbouring pub, the Boot in St Albans which has seen it’s rates increase of 286%.

 

“Our message is beginning to gain momentum, and having the might of CAMRA’s 190,000 members behind us is very good news for St Albans pubs. The support from our local community is essential, so please help add your voice to this important campaign.”

CAMRA Submission to the Government is available to read in full here.

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