MPs showed support for long-term reforms and COVID support packages to help pubs and brewers during a Parliamentary debate last night (24 March 2021), including CAMRA’s proposal for a preferential rate of duty for draught beer.
MPs were debating support for the hospitality industry during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Parliamentarians from all corners of the UK taking part.
Selaine Saxby MP for North Devon, who secured the debate, said in her opening remarks that “a draught beer duty would be targeted, quickly-actioned support, and could play a crucial role in stopping so many of our vibrant pubs and other hospitality businesses from going under”.
Her support for a new draught beer duty rate, which CAMRA has long campaigned for, was echoed by MPs from throughout the UK.
MPs also called for more support for brewers during the lockdown restrictions. Charlotte Nichols MP, Chair of the Pubs APPG, said that the loss of trade for brewers due to closed pubs “represents 10 years of lost growth for the sector”, and called for more compensation and support to help them recover.
Speaking after the debate, CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“We were thrilled to see so many MPs from all parties and across the nations of the UK take part in the debate last night, displaying just how important pubs, clubs and breweries are within the hospitality industry and wider communities. They not only boost local economies and create jobs, but are also a key part of our social fabric, tackling loneliness and social isolation.
“It is clear that there is support across parties for further support to help pubs, clubs and brewers recover from the effects of this crisis, and that there is strong support for a preferential rate of duty for draught beer.
“Further support for our brewers is a must – they have been denied a dedicated support package so far, and we were pleased that several MPs called on the Government to reverse plans to change Small Brewers Relief, which would cause small businesses to pay more tax. This would be a devastating blow, at what is already a time of great financial uncertainty, and we thank the MPs who raised this.
“Some provisions were made to help the industry during the Chancellor’s Budget earlier this month, including the 5% VAT rate being extended until September, and we would like to see this extended further – pubs have not benefitted thus far from the 5% rate due to closures, and will not have long to benefit once restrictions lift. The VAT cut must also include alcohol, in order to help wet-led pubs and social clubs.
“Thank you to all the MPs who took part in the debate. The industry needs more support to ensure it can not only survive, but thrive once restrictions are lifted. The impact of the pandemic on pubs, clubs, and the brewers and cider makers that supply them, will continue to be felt long beyond reopening, and it is vital that this is reflected in the steps taken by Government.”