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BBPA highlights "huge" pub tax bills

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted March 07, 2014
booze news

UK pubs hit by tax and related bills of more than £122,000 ($204,200) a year, says British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

New figures released by the BBPA ahead of this year's Budget (19/3/14) show that each of the country's pubs face "an astonishing" annual bill from the government of some £122,200.

According to a BBPA press release, "beer and other alcohol duties land a typical pub with an eye-watering cost of £33,000, with business rates coming in at £12,500 per premises".

Meanwhile, Value Added Tax (VAT) whacks on another £66,000 and "a host of other taxes and regulatory costs" a further £10,700.

This is all the more alarming given that recent stats issued by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) found that the rate of UK pub closures has now risen from 26 a week to 28.

With the Budget looming, the BBPA says that a freeze on beer duty is "a minimum" that the government can do to help save the country's pubs.

"While the government implemented a highly successful and historic cut in beer duty last year, UK duty remains among the highest in Europe," the BBPA states.

"Duty rose by 42% from 2008 to 2013 and is now an astonishing 12 times higher than in our large neighbour Germany."

However, the news is not all bleak, with more than 100 MPs having now signed an early day motion supporting an industry-wide campaign for more action on beer duty.

At the same time, the BBPA is also calling on the government to examine ways it can reduce the impact of VAT on the hospitality industry.

"These new figures show the financial burden that excessive taxes and regulation place on pubs," says BBPA CEO Brigid Simmonds.

"This government has shown that it understands the scale of the problem, but more action on taxation is needed and action on beer duty in the Budget on March 19 is the best place to start."

• The UK beer and pub sector supports more than 900,000 jobs, with 46% of those employed aged between 16 and 24.

• Beer and pubs contribute £22bn to UK GDP and generate £12bn in total tax revenue.

• Eighty two per cent of the beer sold in the UK is made there.

• One job in brewing generates one job in agriculture, one in the supply chain, one in retailing and 18 in pubs.

• From 2008 to 2013, beer tax increased by 42 per cent; beer sales dropped 21%; 7,000 pubs closed; and 58,000 jobs were lost.

• A beer duty freeze in 2014/15 would cost the Treasury just £4m, according to a BBPA Oxford Economics report.

• Beer duty rates in the UK are still among the highest of any country in Europe.

The latest BBPA findings are contained within a new publication entitled The Pub Story, which can be freely downloaded as a PDF here along with the BBPA's Oxford Economics report, an Excel spreadsheet that "provides unique local data on the impact of pubs in every UK Parliamentary constituency and local authority". Meanwhile, to write to your MP regarding the need to freeze beer duty, have a click of this.

See also UK pubs closures hit 28 a week, posted 3/3/14.

Ignatius Rake
is a freelance journalist and geographer who has visited more than 70 countries on six continents. A published lyricist, he has fronted punk bands in both the UK and Poland, including the only band ever to be kicked off BBC Radio Cornwall. In 2013, he represented the UK at the Fourth Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship in Toronto, coming an abysmal last and getting his arse royally whipped by Rake & Herald reader and world speedscarfing supremo Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut. He has been known to like a pint.

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