Fuller's fears alcohol duty hike could damage pub sector beyond repair

17 June 2010 by
Fuller's fears alcohol duty hike could damage pub sector beyond repair

More rises in alcohol duty could cause "irreparable long-term damage" to the pubs sector, a boss of London brewer and pub operator Fuller'shas warned.

Speaking as the company released its results for the year to 27 March 2010, Fuller's Inns managing director Simon Emeny warned that the industry could bear few more rises in duty, particularly after the last Government had again failed to lower alcohol duty after temporarily dropping the rate of VAT.

"We've got to be sensitive to the fact that there is a growing differential between off-trade pricing and on-trade pricing. We don't want to price ourselves out of the market, which is why the duty increase associated with the VAT reduction has been really damaging to the industry," Emeny said.

The firm recommended the use of minimum alcohol pricing to control irresponsible drinking, rather than duty increases.

Emeny made the comments before it emerged that the Government could raise duty again by up to 5% in its emergency Budget on 22 June.

Fuller's saw its pre-tax profit rise 17% to £26.6m for 2009/10, while total revenue increased 8% to £227.7m for the year to 27 March 2010.

The increased profit is largely thanks to the firm's acquisition during the year of eight managed pubs and one tenanted pub, some at premium sites in the capital, for a total of £30.2m.

Fuller's sees profits rise 17% >>

Government set to up alcohol duty by 5% >>

Beer tax hikes have cost 35,000 pub jobs in the last 30 months >>

By Neil Gerrard

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