Producers and drinkers call for Draught Relief increase
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Increasing Draught Relief to 20 per cent in the Budget would provide the adrenaline shot pubs and breweries need to succeed, according to brewers and beer lovers.
In a new joint campaign, producers and consumers are calling on the chancellor to up the relief and increase the lower rate of duty for draught beer from its current 9.2 per cent discount while at the same time freezing the rest of the alcohol duty levels.
The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB) and CAMRA have jointly made the case to the chancellor ahead of the Spring Budget on 6 March.
In the Autumn Statement last November, the chancellor chose to freeze beer duty until August to allow the new Alcohol Duty System introduced in 2023 to embed. A key part of the new system is the Draught Relief, which allows the Treasury to charge a lower duty rate on beer and certain other alcoholic products sold in draught in pubs.
The groups believe a more substantial cut of 20 per cent on draught beer would encourage people to support their community pubs and drink in the supervised environment instead of at home and help secure jobs and businesses in the pub and beer sector.
This comes as the sector continues to face intense pressure from energy prices and cost increases with hundreds of pubs being lost in 2023.
SIBA chief executive Andy Slee said: “Pubs and breweries already pay way over their fair share of tax, and this is the chancellor’s opportunity to give the sector a boost in his Budget in March.
“Increasing the Draught Relief would mark a major milestone coming one year after the new alcohol duty system went live, which gave the chancellor the unprecedented power to charge a lower rate of duty on draught beer.”
CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said: “The support of pub-goers and beer consumers was key to getting Draught Relief introduced last year, which enables the chancellor to favour our cherished pubs and independent breweries in the tax system.
“This is the opportunity for the chancellor to demonstrate his support and make it 20 per cent by increasing the Draught Relief in his Budget speech.”
IFBB chair Rick Bailey said: “The whole sector has seen the benefits of the new Draught Relief, which positively supports our community pubs and independent breweries.
“At a time when the sector is still recovering from the pandemic and trading conditions continue to remain challenging, increasing Draught Relief to 20 per cent would be a welcome development for pubs this summer.”
CAMRA is urging everyone to contact their MP and ask them to back a package of measures to support pubs and pubgoers. The online E-lobby can be found here: https://action.camra.org.uk/page/142898/action/1
Find more information about the upcoming Spring Budget here: https://camra.org.uk/take-action/budget/