Chancellor Rishi Sunak chose to freeze beer duty and offer pubs financial support in his Budget.

CAMRA says it was a missed opportunity to lower duty to save pubs after weeks of lockdown.

While the announcement of further grants is welcome news, the support may still not be enough to save some pubs after months of being closed or offering a limited service.

Pubs will still not be able to fully open until 17 May at the earliest with social-distancing rules still in place. Those in England can reopen from 12 April, but only outdoors which will significantly hamper takings.

CAMRA’s national chairman Nik Antona said: “Freezing alcohol duty is better than a rise. However, CAMRA had hoped to see the chancellor announce a cut in duty on beer served on tap in pubs and clubs [pictured]. This would benefit consumers and help the great British pub recover and thrive in the difficult months and years ahead by being able to compete with supermarket alcohol.

“The government’s commitment to review alcohol duties in the coming months is welcome. CAMRA will continue to call for a lower rate of duty for beer served in pubs – an option available now we have left the European Union.

“Reducing tax on beer served in pubs and social clubs would encourage responsible drinking in a supervised, community setting as well as boosting jobs and local economies, helping consumers and benefiting pubs and licensees.

“Cutting VAT as pubs begin to reopen, and reducing it until April next year, means they can now start benefiting from that. But CAMRA believes this cut should be extended to alcohol so traditional locals that don’t serve food can benefit too.”

CAMRA also called for the government to follow Scotland’s lead and give a 12-month reprieve on paying business rates.

Nik said: “Extending the business rates holiday until the end of June will help keep the wolves from the door for many English pubs, with the two-thirds reduction for the rest of the financial year a welcome step.

“However, given how tough it will be for many pubs, we believe the 100 per cent cut in business rates needs to be extended for a full 12 months as has already happened in Scotland.”

The chancellor also announced community groups will be given up to £250,000 to run pubs as community-owned businesses.

Join the Discourse

Want to discuss this article? Join in on Discourse