The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is calling for a Budget that lowers the rate of duty on beer served on tap in pubs and social clubs to help them compete with supermarket sales when they can reopen.
Reducing the tax on beer depending on how it is served is an option the government can take to support the industry now that the UK has left the European Union. The group said the move would help make pub-going more competitive against booze on offer at supermarkets.
The consumer organisation has written to the Chancellor to ask him to consider a package of measures ahead of the March Budget, which also includes:
- Ongoing, regular grant payments to help pubs and social clubs cover costs when they are forced to close or operate at a reduced capacity;
- Continuing the furlough scheme as long as pubs and clubs are subject to trading restrictions;
- Ensuring brewers and cider producers are eligible for support schemes;
- Announcing another business rates holiday for 2021/22;
- Extending the VAT reduction to beer to support wet-led pubs.
Camra national chairman Nik Antona said: "The next Budget is an ideal time for the government to announce some much-needed, long-term financial support to help the beer and pubs industry recover from the Covid crisis.
"As well as ongoing support while restrictions on trading remain, we would like to see a long-term change to the way beer is taxed to reduce the price of a pint specifically for pub-goers. This move would help pubs rebuild their businesses, compete with cheap supermarket booze and secure their future at the heart of our communities.
"It would also encourage responsible drinking in the supervised setting of community pubs – with all the social and mental health benefits that come with it."