Wednesday 23 March 2011

Beer tax rise is 'a kick in the teeth' say Welsh Brewers

The increase of two per cent above inflation in beer tax,announced in today’s Budget, is ‘ruinous’ to the nation’s thriving local brewing sector, ignores its contribution to the economy and puts thousands of jobs
 in breweries and pubs in jeopardy, says Buster Grant, Head Brewer of the Breconshire Brewery and Chairman of the Association of Welsh Independent Brewers, (AWIB).
Buster Grant said, “This is a real kick in the teeth to the local brewing sector, one of the few British success
 stories of recent years. Local brewers are just the kind of business this government says it wants to see
 prosper: they create jobs for local people and contribute to the local and wider British economy by using
 home-grown ingredients. Yet the current beer taxation regime is killing off our main route to market – the British pub.”
He continued, “The Treasury claimed before the Budget that their beer duty escalator is ‘baked in’. We say it is half baked!
Continuing to increase taxes on draught beer, drunk in the socially responsible environment of the pub, will serve only to increase purchases of cheap spirits for unsupervised home consumption. We fail to see how this policy can help tackle binge drinking. ”
Nick Otley, managing director of the family-run Otley Brewery in Pontypridd, said: “Although the price of petrol per litre has been reduced by 1p, which will help the delivery side of our business, it doesn’t offset the increase in alcohol duty. This is not the best outcome for small, family run breweries like ourselves. With the local brewing sector creating jobs for local people and contributing to the local and wider British economy, it comes as a surprise to us that the previous government’s escalator on alcohol duty remains unchanged.

AWIB, along with SIBA (the Society of Independent Brewers) and CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) have all campaigned vigorously against the Government's ‘duty escalator’, which increases beer duty by 2% above inflation every year.

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