As part of an industry coalition, the British Beer & Pub Association has called on the two Conservative leadership contenders to back beers and pubs.
In letters written to both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, which have been signed by the BBPA alongside Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), UK Hospitality, The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and Pub is the Hub, the economic value and social importance of brewing, pubs and hospitality have been highlighted.
At a time of uncertainty, division and change – adding to the pressure pubs already face – the letter has called for the future Conservative leader and Prime Minister to support the sector with a range of measures, which are:
- At least a freeze on beer duty for the rest of the Parliament
- An urgent review of the business rates system with the aim of reducing the burden on high street businesses
- Short-term business rates support at the 2019 Budget for pub and hospitality businesses of all sizes to alleviate the immediate threats and promote investment
- Review the VAT and excise duty systems post-Brexit to promote out of home consumption
- Ensure tariff free trade on food and drink with the EU to promote beer exports and keep the cost of food down for UK consumers
- Establish a post-Brexit immigration system that ensures pubs and brewers can access the staff they need to succeed and grow, delivering a great experience for consumers
- Support the recently announced Tourism Sector Deal, which aims to supercharge the sector and greatly improve the number and quality of apprenticeships and wider training across the economy
British Beer & Pub Association Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments:
“Pubs are the original social network, at their heart of their communities and important to international and domestic tourists. The number of pubs in the UK is falling and they need support now more than ever. This is why we and other industry bodies are calling for the Conservative leadership hopefuls to back beer and pubs.
“We have set out a range of measures which both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt could follow to help our sector and our door remains open for their engagement now and after the election result is announced.”
UKHospitality are also cosignatories along with the BII, CAMRA, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), Pub is the Hub. The joint letter outlines the need for stability in the sector, which can only be delivered via a basket of policy reform. These include delivery on the Conservative manifesto commitment to reform of business rates, with interim measures to end the impacts of the hugely increased costs of the property tax.
UKH continues to represent the sector at Brexit ‘no deal’ planning meetings but called on the Conservative leadership candidates to redouble efforts to ensure a smooth Brexit that allows access to labour for hospitality businesses and protects food and drink from harmful tariffs. The letter also praises the Government’s recent announcement of a Tourism Sector Deal and commits support to that ongoing process, and also calls a commitment to freeze beer duty for the remainder of this Parliament.
Kate Nicholls, UKH’s CEO, said: “After such a prolonged period of uncertainty and instability for hospitality operators, it is crucial to the fortunes of our sector – and the British economy – that a new Prime Minister recognises and acts to protect the value of our venues to the UK economy, culture and society.
“The operating environment is approaching crisis point, and we cannot stand by without making this a top priority for a new PM. We and our sector allies have sent a firm but friendly reminder to Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson that the venues that Britons value so highly are at risk, and we have called upon them to take simple but effective measures to safeguard our pubs.”