The Government should cut duty on draught beer served in pubs and social clubs to help them compete with supermarket alcohol – and recover from the impact of the COVID pandemic.
That is the main finding of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group’s ‘Caskenomics’ report into cask beer and the Covid crisis, which has been published today.
It finds that traditional British cask ale, which is only available to consumers at their local, needs support to thrive in the months and years ahead.
Fresh, live beer, which has a short shelf life, had to be poured away when lockdowns hit and often was not available whilst pubs could not open their doors or beer gardens – leading to a 72% reduction in sales by February 2021.
Prior to the pandemic, the cask ale sector contributed 72,500 jobs to the UK economy.
The All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group’s report urges the Government to promote pubs as a secure place to socialise safely, as well as reducing the tax burden on the beer and pubs sector amid warnings that sales are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022.
Commenting on the launch of the Caskenomics report, CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“This report by the Parliamentary Beer Group makes it clear that the Government must take much-needed action to support our pubs, breweries and our national drink – traditional cask ale.
“Pub goers and beer drinkers will be particularly pleased to see the Caskenomics report recommending a long-term change to the way beer is taxed to reduce the tax paid on the price of a pint in the pub – with savings passed onto consumers and pub landlords.
“This would promote drinking in the supervised setting of the community pub rather than promoting cheap supermarket alcohol – helping to support pub-going, encourage responsible drinking, save jobs and keep pubs and local breweries alive and thriving.
“The Chancellor should listen to the recommendations in today’s report and commit to reducing tax on the pint in pubs across Britain, helping our locals at a time when they need it most.”