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Great British Beer Festival Hosts Prime Minister

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) today called on the Prime Minister to protect our pubs and clubs and secure their long-term future.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited the Great British Beer Festival, CAMRA’s flagship event, to meet key figures from the Campaign, and talk with brewers, publicans and people from the wider industry.

With around 30 pubs closing every week, CAMRA says now is the time to act to support licensees, consumers and brewers.

The visit coincided with the introduction of a groundbreaking change in the way beer and cider are taxed, which CAMRA successfully campaigned for alongside leading voices from the pub and beer industry. The new system came into effect today (August 1st) and sees a lower rate of tax paid on beer and cider sold on draught.

This recognises both the social and community benefits of venues such as pubs and clubs and is set to benefit small producers, pubs and ultimately consumers.

Yet a key element has been overlooked. A technicality means the majority of publicans will no longer be able to sell takeaway pints, even when this would prevent waste or let designated drivers safely support their local brewer by taking a pint home from the pub.

CAMRA called on the Prime Minister to take a common-sense approach and ensure that this practice can continue to form a unique feature of the UK on-trade.

CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said:
“I was pleased to host the Prime Minister at this year’s Great British Beer Festival. He saw first-hand the vibrant atmosphere and the clear passion people have for producing and supporting live beer, real cider and real perry.

“Today’s new alcohol tax system recognises for the first time that drinking great beer and cider in your local is the best way to enjoy a pint, along with all the social benefits that go hand-in-hand with a visit.

“However, costs for businesses and the price of a pint at the bar are still rising. Today I urged the Prime Minister to expand the difference between the lower and general rate of duty charged on pints to keep pub-going affordable.

“We need the government to do more to protect our pubs; not only are they a vital part of the UK’s long-held traditions and rich heritage, but they also provide an important social hub in our communities, which help reduce isolation and loneliness.”

CAMRA will be calling on the Chancellor to use the Autumn Statement to amend the legislation that currently prevents takeaway draught beer and cider sales, address the unfair burden placed on pubs by the business rates system, and ensure that UK brewers and cider makers aren’t frozen out the market by global producers.