The Campaign for Real Ale has welcomed the prospect of a lower rate of duty being charged on beer and cider in pubs, social clubs and taprooms across Northern Ireland as a result of the Windsor Framework announced this week.
The UK Government is bringing in a new, lower rate of alcohol duty charged on draught beer and cider from August 2022.
The change was only going to apply to licensed venues in Great Britain, but the Windsor Agreement will allow the UK to set excise rules on alcohol in Northern Ireland meaning the changes can be introduced in both GB and NI.
The measure has been a flagship CAMRA campaign for many years. It is designed to encourage pub going to help secure the future of the pub which plays a vital role in our social fabric, bringing communities together and helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation.
CAMRA is calling on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to use his March Budget to set the new, lower rate at 20% lower than the normal tax levels for beer and cider.
Commenting, Chairperson of CAMRA NI Ruth Sloan said: “Pubgoers will be raising a glass to the prospect of a new, lower rate of duty being charged on draught beer and cider served in pubs, clubs and taprooms here from August.
“This is an important principle that tax on beer and cider should be lower when it is served on tap – reflecting the benefits of enjoying a pint in a controlled setting and the positive impacts that our pubs have on bringing people together and tackling loneliness and social isolation.
“It is great news that NI’s hospitality venues will now be able to benefit from the new, lower duty rate to help our pubs survive and thrive.
“Whilst this is welcome news, if NI’s beer scene is to expand and thrive as it has elsewhere on these islands, we desperately need the next Executive here to properly modernise our outdated licensing laws. This is essential if new, smaller and specialist pubs can open, and so local and independent breweries and cider producers can have a fair crack of the whip against the multinational brewing giants.”