Food and DrinkHospitalityNews

Treasury Slammed for “Budget Porkie Pie”

The Campaign for Pubs has written to the Head of the Civil Service, Simon Case, making a complaint regarding a statement made by Treasury civil servants about Wednesday’s budget for pubs which they say is false.

The Campaign, that represents pubs, publicans and pub campaigners, has slammed a falsehood tweeted by the official Treasury X/Twitter account @hmtreasury, that claimed a freeze in alcohol duty was “Cutting costs for breweries, distilleries, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs & bars”.

A spokesperson said: “Yet is clearly untrue. A freeze of beer duty (which is a producer tax, levied on breweries) holds this current tax, on beer, at the same level. It is therefore impossible that this has ‘cut costs’ for anyone, least of all pubs!

“The Civil Service Code says civil servants “must set out the facts and relevant issues truthfully and correct any errors as soon as possible”. The tweet on Wednesday was untruthful and a clear breach of the Civil Service Code. As a result, the Campaign has made a formal complaint demanding a retraction and an apology.”

As well as not cutting costs for anyone, as a producer tax, alcohol duty it is paid by breweries and drinks manufacturers, not by pubs or publicans. Duty freezes or cuts don’t help pubs or publicans as the impact is negligible on the price publicans pay (and are often not passed on) but benefit the global brewers and drinks brands, who will collectively save tens millions of tax by alcohol duty not increasing. The duty freeze also doesn’t have any impact on the price for pub customers, due to other rising costs, which are pushing prices up, something the Chancellor did nothing about.”

Publicans had been urging the Government to give direct support to pubs via a VAT cut on all pub sales, further business rate relief, cancellation of Covid debt and action on sky-high energy bills.