The launch of a public consultation by HMRC and the Treasury on how best to change the system of taxation on alcohol in the UK is the ideal opportunity for the Government to take bold action to protect pubs from closure, according to CAMRA.
The consumer organisation, which represents 180,000 beer drinkers and pub-goers across the UK, wants to see a lower rate of duty charged on draught beer.
This is designed to help level the playing field between the price of beer sold in social, community settings and cheap supermarket alcohol consumed at home.
Taxing beer at a different rate when it is served in pubs and social clubs hasn’t been possible under European Union rules – but is now an option for the Government as the UK leaves the EU.
Commenting CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“Targeted action to reduce the price of a pint specifically for pub-goers would give community pubs a fighting chance to stay open, alive and thriving in the months and years ahead.
“The UK has one of the highest rates beer duty in Europe. As a result, publicans have been faced for many years with the unfortunate choice of either raising prices or closing their doors . This has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, which has further eroded dwindling profit margins.
“A preferential rate of duty on draught beer would be a real step towards supporting and encouraging drinking in the supervised, community setting of the local pub. It would also create and sustain local jobs and level the playing field between pubs and cheap supermarket alcohol – helping our locals at a time when they need it most.”