Southwold brewer Adnams calls for action to ease beer tax burden
10:55 27 October 2012
Suffolk brewer Adnams is urging MPs across Norfolk and Suffolk to get behind the industry and help cut the tax burden facing the industry.
Next Thursday MPs will debate a measure urging the government to review its controversial ‘beer tax escalator’ policy, which has seen tax on beer rise by 42pc since it was introduced in March 2008.
Stephen Pugh, Adnams finance director, said the beer and pub industry plays a vital role in the economies of Suffolk and Norfolk and directly accounts for more than 46,500 jobs in the region including 21,329 people aged under 25.
The contribution to the region’s GDP is estimated to be £1.6m.
The average price of a pub pint of beer in the UK is £3.17, with the duty on a 5pc proof pint of beer currently about 55p.
British beer tax is nine times higher than that of France and 13 times higher than it is in Germany. But there are fears the tax burden is having a significant impact on the industry and is leading to pub closures and job losses.
“Brewing and pubs are absolutely vital to the local economy,” Mr Pugh said. “Duty and VAT on beer cost the typical pub around £66,000 per year. We have seen huge increases in our tax burden, and any further rises are just not sustainable.
“We want to be creating more local jobs and wealth in Suffolk and Norfolk, which is certainly possible without huge tax hikes, every year.
“I hope MPs in Suffolk and Norfolk will listen to these concerns, attend this important debate and support our regional brewing and pub trade by voting for a review of the beer duty escalator.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he backed the call by Adnams.
Mr Aldous, who is already taking the government to task on anomalies in its progressive beer duty following warnings from Bungay-based St Peter’s Brewery that it may no longer be able afford to sell beer in this country, said it was vital the government acted to support the industry. “It’s a campaign I am thoroughly sympathetic with,” Mr Aldous said. “Across Suffolk, we have both very large and small breweries, but they all perform a very important role in the local economy and I think that the government needs to recognise that.
“It’s encouraging to see the growth in private sector jobs, but we need to keep things going and we have got to make it easier for these businesses to move forward and this is exactly one that falls into that category.”