Industry Responds to Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

BBPA-logoBrigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, British Beer & Pub Association, has today responded to the announcements made in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement:

“We understand action to help those on low pay, but given the current economic uncertainty there is a real need to look at the cost pressures facing pubs. Increases in the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage represent challenges for our sector, particularly in pubs, where labour costs are high, at between 14 and 25 per cent of operating costs.

“The doubling of Rural Rate Relief provides a welcome correction to an anomaly that would have penalised rural pubs, with pubs that qualify now able to claim 100 per cent relief on their business rates through the rural relief scheme.

“Whilst we support the reduction in the cap on transitional rate relief, the BBPA and other industry bodies had written to the Chancellor calling for broader support on business rates, prior to his announcement today. We want to see enhanced relief for pubs that will be hit hardest by the 2017 revaluation, and an overall review of how rates impact on Britain’s pubs.

“There have been no increases in beer duty rates, which is welcome, but duty accounts for up to 50 per cent of the costs of a UK brewer and remains a concern for the industry. Our rate of beer duty in Britain is considerably higher than all other major European brewing nations, and we are now calling on the Chancellor to cut beer duty in the 2017 Spring Budget, and tackle the unfair burden it places on Britain’s beer drinkers, publicans and brewers.

“The BBPA supports further moves towards a more productive economy and the Chancellor’s support for the Mayfield review. The BBPA has already carried out work with consultants McKinsey on boosting productivity, developing an app called ‘How Good’s Your Business Really?’”

camraIn response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says:

“CAMRA welcomes the Chancellor’s decision not to raise beer duty in the Autumn Statement. Pubs are under a huge amount of financial pressure and with UK beer drinkers paying 52.2p of duty on their pint we are seeing more and more people choosing to drink at home rather than at their local. This trend not only hurts UK businesses, but is also contributing to the demise of our communities and affects people’s personal wellbeing.”

He adds: “While a freeze in beer duty is welcome, CAMRA would like to see the Government do more to reverse the damage done by the beer duty escalator by cutting duty in the 2017 Budget.”

1153101Sue Cooper, Co-owner of Little Valley Brewery based in Yorkshire,said:

“Whilst we do appreciate that an increase in beer duty has not been put forward in today’s Autumn Statement, which is a real positive for the brewing industry, we had hoped for a freeze or cut to be announced. The UK currently has the second highest beer duty rate in the EU, meaning it’s a challenging industry out there for brewers of all sizes.

“With Brexit in progress, the squeeze on our industry is even tighter as costs for raw materials and energy are both rising alongside threats of increased inflation, which is compounded by the uncertainty at this time during the transition out of Europe. Furthermore, OBR Chairman Robert Chote is estimating that consumers will be 3% poorer following today’s Statement, meaning harder times for our industry could be on the horizon, however the doubling of Rural Rate Relief is definitely a positive move to support rural pubs across the country.

“We now urge the Chancellor to offer reassurance to our industry when we need it most”.

fdfFood and Drink Federation Director General Ian Wright CBE said:

“Food and drink manufacturing is strategically important to the UK economy and in ensuring future food security. Worth £21.9 billion, employing around 400,000 people, and feeding millions every day, UK food and drink manufacturers have been a beacon of productivity and export growth, as this week’s exceptional figures showed.

“Exports of branded food and drink are at their highest level on record and yet there is massive untapped opportunity for UK businesses. Doubling of export finance capacity to support trade is welcome. We will work with UK Export Finance (UKEF) to boost awareness among food and drink exporters of the products and services they provide. For food and drink producers, it’s the on-the-ground support such as mentoring and increased UK presence at internationals trade shows which can result in the greatest gains.

“With its regional spread, food and drink manufacturers are well placed to help ensure every corner of the UK shares in economic success. The £23bn funding for productivity is the right commitment at the right time. Productivity growth in food and drink manufacturing continues to outstrip the wider economy and FDF, with our President, Dame Fiona Kendrick of Nestlé, has worked with Sir Charlie Mayfield and other industrial partners to identify the levers to turbocharge future progress. FDF published its action plan for industry earlier this summer.

“For food and drink, the Chancellor’s support for the productivity agenda and extra funding for innovation more broadly means better skilled jobs, more sustainable manufacturing processes, and greater capacity for R&D.

“An effective partnership between industry and Government has never been more important as we face into the significant economic challenges described in today’s Autumn Statement and embark on a new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world. We need a new industrial strategy, informed by the particular needs of food and drink manufacturers, so we can sustain our workforce needs, access essential raw ingredients and maintain consumer confidence in our industry”