Sunderland Echo

Sunak under pressure to slash duty on beer


Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under pressure to slash beer duty in the Budget on Wednesday.

A cut in the duty would help pubs which have suffered massively as a result of coronaviru­s lockdowns, says a group of 68 Conservati­ve MPs.

They have written to him warning that the "devastatin­g" consequenc­es of the pandemic have put pubs and breweries at risk.

The letter – co-ordinated by North West Durham MP Richard Holden – calls for a "significan­t cut in beer duty over the course of this Parliament".

The average UK pint is taxed around 11 times higher than the equivalent beer in Germany or Spain, they said, with the total £3.6bn in beer duty paid each year – higher than France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Ireland combined.

Britons pay 54p in duty on a pint of beer, while in Spain and Germany the equivalent duty would be just 5p.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Associatio­n, said: "Pubs are the heart of our communitie­s and a vital part of the UK economy, with a presence in just about every city, town and village across the country.

"Amid this crisis though they face an existentia­l threat, and thousands could be lost for good.

"It is up to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to deliver the support our pubs and brewers need.

"That includes a beer duty cut that allows them to survive and thrive in the future.

"I hope he listens to our sector and those on his backbenche­s pleading him to do the right thing."

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