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CALL TO AMEND BEER TAX PLANS

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) are urging the Treasury to amend tax plans to help small brewers and cask beer thrive. Chancellor Riski Sunak’s plans for a new way of taxing alcohol excludes many small brewers and cider producers. The changes, announced in last year’s Budget, offer a different rate of taxation for beer and cider served from draught in order to encourage people to drink in and support local pubs and other licensed venues. However, the tax break is only applicable for beer and cider served in containers of 40 litres and over, which excludes many of the country’s finest small and independent brewers. CAMRA research found:

  • 34% of licencees said they stock products in containers of less than 40 litres to improve the quality and choice of beer and cider for consumers

  • 46% of venues said they can only buy some of the beer and cider they want in containers of under 40 litres, particularly if they want to stock beer from small and independent producers

  • almost one in ten venues don’t have the necessary cellar space or opening patterns to be able to sell beer and cider in larger 40-litre containers

CAMRA is urging the chancellor to change his plans to ensure that all consumers, pubs, and small, independent producers can benefit. By reducing the container threshold to 20 litres and over, he could ensure that pub -oers have access to a better choice of quality, local, and independent beers and ciders, as licensees can sustain quality using smaller containers. CAMRA chair, Nik Antona, said: “Introducing a new, lower rate of duty for draught beer and cider served in pubs and clubs is a hugely important change which recognises that pubs are a force for good in our communities and should be helped to compete with the likes of supermarkets. “While 40 litre containers may be the most commonly used size across all beers, using this as a base point for the draught duty relief is a massive oversimplifaction. As our research shows, the current proposals exclude many small brewers and cider makers — which is unfair. “If we are to see the benefits of this bold new policy, the Treasury needs to make a small change to their plans and apply this new rate of tax on containers of 20 litres or over. This will help to make sure that all consumers, producers, and venues can benefit, and help keep fresh cask ale and real cider alive and thriving up and down the country.” SIBA chief executive, James Calder, added: “The new draught rate could be a gamechanger for small brewers, pubs, and beer enthusiasts, helping the sector to recover from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But to do so it is imperative that the Treasury includes all the containers that small brewers and community pubs use. “To ensure that the freshest beer is served in pubs, many small brewers use smaller 20- and 30-litre containers, which are currently excluded from the scheme. This is the government’s opportunity to stand up for the sector by making it 20 and ensuring everyone can benefit.”

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