Increasing Draught Relief to 20% in the Chancellor’s Budget would provide the adrenaline shot the pubs and brewery sector needs to succeed, according to representatives of the sector.
In a new joint campaign launched today, independent breweries and beer consumers are calling for the Chancellor to Make It 20% and increase the lower rate of duty for draught beer from its current 9.2% while at the same time freezing the rest of the alcohol duty levels.
The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have jointly written to the Chancellor to make the case ahead of the Spring Budget on 6 March where he is due to make a decision on beer duty levels from the summer.
In the Autumn Statement last November, the Chancellor chose to freeze beer duty until August to allow the new Alcohol Duty System introduced in 2023 to embed. A key part of the new system is the Draught Relief, which allows the Treasury to charge a lower duty rate on beer and certain other alcoholic products sold in draught in pubs.
The groups believe that a more substantial cut of 20% on draught beer would encourage people to support their local community pubs and drink in the supervised environment instead of at home and help secure jobs and businesses in the pub and beer sector.
This comes as the sector continues to face intense pressure from energy prices and cost increases with hundreds of pubs being lost in 2023.
SIBA Chief Executive Andy Slee said: “Pubs and breweries already pay way over their fair share of tax and this is the Chancellor’s opportunity to give the sector a boost in his Budget in March. Increasing the Draught Relief would mark a major milestone coming one year after the new alcohol duty system went live, which gave the Chancellor the unprecedented power to charge a lower rate of duty on draught beer.”
CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said: “The support of pub goers and beer consumers was key to getting Draught Relief introduced last year, which enables the Chancellor to favour our cherished pubs and independent breweries in the tax system. This is the opportunity for the Chancellor to demonstrate his support and Make it 20% by increasing the Draught Relief in his Budget speech.”
The Chair of the IFBB Rick Bailey commented: “The whole sector has seen the benefits of the new Draught Relief, which positively supports our community pubs and independent breweries. At a time when the sector is still recovering from the pandemic and trading conditions continue to remain challenging, increasing Draught Relief to 20% would be a welcome development for pubs this summer.”