Beer campaigners call for government help as city publican issues warning

Paul Saynor is landlord of the Rose In June pub in Milton.
Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Paul Saynor is landlord of the Rose In June pub in Milton. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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Beer enthusiasts are ramping up the fight to keep the price of a pint down in local pubs.

The Campaign for Real Ale is calling on the Treasury to slash beer duty by 1p ahead of the Budget on the March.

Pubs are part of the community, yet we are seeing too many of them closing – I don’t actually believe people realise that there is a big crisis in the pub community.

Paul Saynor, landlord of The Rose in June

With inflation expected to rise, Camra says the cut will help to cap the price of beer, keeping more money in consumers’ pockets and helping pubs and brewers to grow.

Beer duty activists have had some success in recent years with three consecutive penny cuts to duty and a freeze.

But critics warn the UK is still paying among the highest rate of beer duty in Europe, at 52.2p on the pint.

This compares to other big brewing nations, which pay a tenth less than UK beer drinkers such as Germany and Spain, who enjoy their beer at under 5p of duty on a pint.

And local publicans say getting more benefits is crucial to the trade – which they fear is in ‘crisis’.

Paul Saynor, landlord of The Rose in June, in Milton Road, Copnor, Portsmouth, said: ‘Pubs are part of the community, yet we are seeing too many of them closing – I don’t actually believe people realise that there is a big crisis in the pub community.

‘It’s becoming more and more difficult for people to run pubs and make profit out of it.’

Despite the concerns, the beer, brewing and pubs sector now support nearly 900,000 jobs in the UK, and contributes £23.6bn to the economy every year.

Camra says a further cut in duty would only help ‘encourage investment, protect jobs and improve confidence in the sector.’

There’s also fresh concern about the growing number of people now buying their beer from the supermarket rather than the pub, choosing to drink at home rather than socialise with their friends in their local.

And in a further effort to help publicans, Camra is calling for a reduction of up to £5,000 in business rates for boozers in England, which would allow pub owners to reinvest the additional funds back into the business.

Camra chairman, Colin Valentine, said: ‘It is clear that previous cuts to beer duty have benefitted beer drinkers and supported significant growth in the brewing industry.

‘However, we as a nation are still paying a notable amount – especially in comparison to our European neighbours.

‘At the same time, pubs are confronted with higher taxation and cost, despite the vital role that they play in bringing our communities together and ensure we are drinking responsibly.

‘We are simply calling for fairer measures for beer drinkers and publicans in our asks to government.’