Pre-budget appeal to cut beer duty...again

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Fylde MP Mark Menzies has sent a “message in a barrel” calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cut beer duty for the fourth consecutive time in this week’s budget.

Mr Menzies – who is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group – joined the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) at an industry event in the House of Commons.

Mark Menzies

Mark Menzies

During the meeting, Mr Menzies spoke to leading industry figures who told him the three successive cuts in beer duty in recent budgets have proved a massive boost for brewing and pubs in the UK, resulting in more affordable beer and millions of pounds of investment in pubs.

He posted his message to Chancellor George Osborne MP into a large, handcrafted barrel – especially made by Yorkshire brewer Theakston’s – along with around 50 other MPs.

Mr Menzies said: “I’m proud to be part of a Government which supports the beer and pub industry and has cut the duty on beer in the last three budgets.

“However beer tax in the UK remains far higher than that neighbouring European countries.

“ In Germany, for example, the rate of tax on beer is some 13 times lower than here in the UK. Brewing and pubs make a massive contribution to the UK economy.

“As a sector it supports almost 900,000 jobs across the country and contributes £22bn to UK GDP.

“In Fylde, there are 55 pubs and one brewery which employ 1,155 people between them. I want to see the success of those businesses continue, while ensuring people are able to enjoy a fairly-priced pint.”

A recent YouGov poll for the BBPA showed that 72 per cent support a cut or freeze in beer duty in the next budget.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: “I am delighted that so many MPs have shown their support for cutting beer duty. It is the most direct, targeted way of helping pubs.

“Strong support from MPs always gives a real boost to our campaign – we have built a very strong case for further duty cuts to boost employment and protect pubs, as the industry still faces big pressures.”