Industry leaders demand major reform in open letter to chancellor

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CHAMPIONS of the beer industry have joined forces to ask Chancellor Phillip Hammond for major reform.

In total, eight leading bodies representing the entire supply chain in Britain’s beer and pub industry are calling for decisive action to ease the burden of beer duty and business rates in the November budget.

The professionals have written a letter to the chancellor in a bid to protect jobs, pubs and the wider economy.

Growers, brewers, pub owners and patrons are asking the government for a major reform and to extend and increase the pub-specific rates relief introduced in March.

The group penning the letter includes the chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association Brigid Simmonds OBE and the chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, Colin Valentine.

The chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, Kate Nichols and Geoff Thompson MBE, chairman of the British Hop Association are also putting their name to the document.

On beer duty, the team is asking for an indefinite freeze.

Since a revaluation in 2017, pubs face an increase in business rates. Pubs currently pay five times more in business rates than their share of rateable business turnover.

The letter includes the following statement: ‘These measures will create thousands of additional jobs, boost inward investment, tourism and export growth, and ensure a pint in the pub remains an affordable pleasure, bringing together people from all walks of life.’

‘We are urging the chancellor to extend and increase the pub-specific rates relief beyond this year and set out the timetable for major reform of the system.

‘Implement at least a freeze in beer duty for the duration of the parliament.’

Pubs and brewing support 900,000 jobs throughout the UK and contribute £23b to the economy. The letter states that the 3.9 per cent beer duty announced in March was a major blow to the industry. The group also expressed concerns that further increases could result in thousands of jobs lost throughout the UK.

It could also risk potential new investments.