Drinkers have been let down by the Chancellor’s decision to increase beer and cider duty in today’s Budget – which will see the price of their pints rise. The announced two penny a pint increase in beer duty is the first rise in five years. It marks a U-turn by the Chancellor as he risks returning to the days of the much-hated Beer Duty Escalator which contributed to 75,000 job losses, 3,700 pub closures and a 24% fall in beer sales in pubs. Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says: “UK beer drinkers, pubs and brewers have been let down by the Chancellor’s decision to increase beer duty for the first time in five years. “The announced two penny a pint increase marks a return to the days when the much-hated Beer Duty Escalator contributed to 75,000 job losses, 3,700 pub closures and a 24% fall in beer sales in pubs. The rise in beer duty will ultimately hit consumers in their pockets and lead to pub closures across the country. “The government’s U-turn on beer duty is a real missed opportunity to support consumers. The UK still pays one of the highest rates of duty across Europe, only consuming around 12% of the beer yet paying nearly 40% of all beer duty in the EU. Further beer duty increases will lead to unsustainable price increases in pubs. The decision completely ignores the pressures that are being faced by the beer and pub sectors.” Unique role of pubs in England recognised by business rate relief The Government has recognised the unique role that pubs play in our communities in England by introducing a new temporary £1,000 discount on business rates bills for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000. CAMRA has warmly welcomed this relief and has called for it to be made permanent and increased further in future Budgets. While this discount will provide welcome relief for the majority of pubs, not all will benefit as the relief does not apply to the largest pubs so a minority are still faced with very large business rate increases. Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman adds: “We are delighted that the Government has recognised the vital role that pubs play both in our local communities and our economy by introducing a new rate relief specifically for pubs in England. “The announcement of a new rate relief for pubs in England is a ground-breaking step which recognises both the importance of pubs and the unfair impact of the business rate system on pubs. This new relief offers huge assistance to pubs and is a step towards CAMRA’s ambition of securing a £5,000 rate relief reduction for all pubs. “While this is welcome news for most pubs, some of the largest pubs will be excluded from the new relief. For example, the CAMRA award winning Baum pub in Rochdale will be unaffected by this discount. The Baum pub’s rateable value is going up by 376.6%, and the pub will pay an additional £47,327 per year once transitional rate relief ends. “CAMRA is calling on local councils to use the new discretionary fund announced today to support those pubs that will still be hit by massive business rate increases over the coming years.