Call for freeze in beer tax

New figures show importance of beer and pub industry to Wales

Brains calls for freeze in beer tax

Newly released figures by leading economists Oxford Economics, have shown that the beer and pub sector sustains more than 50,000 jobs in Wales, and is capable of generating many more given a supportive duty regime. The analysis also shows that the local economy is £1 billion better off thanks to the industry.

Scott Waddington, Chief Executive of S.A Brain and Co Ltd, says these new figures show the need for the Government to scrap the controversial beer duty "escalator" in this week’s Budget.

The recent VAT increase (6p per pint) has followed a 26 per cent increase in beer duty since 2008. The vast majority (85%) of pubs are small businesses which cannot absorb these tax shocks, further increasing the price differential between pubs and supermarkets. With the current high rate of inflation the sector is facing a further, huge 7.1 per cent beer tax increase via the "escalator" this month. This would result in beer duty having increased by 35 per cent in three years.

Brains is supporting a joint campaign led by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), to freeze beer duty and scrap the controversial beer duty escalator ahead of this year’s Budget.

Scott Waddington said:

"I have written to all Welsh MPs highlighting the importance of the beer and pub sector to the Welsh economy and the potential threat to jobs if the beer duty escalator is imposed. I urge the Government to think twice about implementing this in the forthcoming Budget.

"The industry is a major employer in Wales, and at Brains alone we employ more than 2000 people. With the right policies, we would be able to create many more new local jobs in the future."

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the BBPA, adds:

"The broad support for our campaign reflects the strategic importance of beer and pubs in Britain. The beer and pub sector is ready, willing, and able to create jobs and help lead the country out of recession - but we need the right tax policies from the Government."