UK: Brewers claim sector still "overtaxed" despite duty escalator removal
The report hails the positives for the sector but says more can be done
The cancellation of duty escalator on beer in the UK was a “symbolic” moment for the country's brewing and pub industry and has boosted sales, but the sector remains “overtaxed”, a new report claims.
The report, published jointly by the British Beer & Pub Association, Campaign for Real Ale and the Society of Independent Brewers today (3 October), says Chancellor George Osborne's decision was a “positive shift in the relationship between Government and the trade”. The groups suggest it showed that polticians understand the importance of the sector to the economy.
The escalator, introduced in 2008, saw duty rates on alcohol increase automatically by 2% above inflation per year, on top of additonal rises. However, after years of industry campaigning, in March this year the Treasury cancelled the measure for beer, but kept it in place for wine and spirits.
Today's report reveals that the cut is likely to result in an estimated boost in beer sales of 280m pints per year. It also claims that GBP400m (US$648.1m) will have been invested in beer and pubs during 2013.
But, the report adds: “We feel more can be done. After a turbulent period of supra-inflationary duty increases, and layers of regulation, it is imperative that the industry is given a period of stability.”
It adds: "Tax hikes of 42% in five years will not be undone with a cut of 2%, however welcome it has been. The sector remains overtaxed.”
The groups say that, “at the very least”, no increases in beer duty in next year's Budget would be welcome.
The Wine & Spirit Trade Association last week launched its own campaign calling for an end to the duty escalator.
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