Pulling together to support pubs and clubs
Pubs face a huge tax burden, including VAT, excise duties, business rates,
corporation tax and other pub-specific costs. In total £12.7bn in taxes are paid
across the beer and pubs sector per year. Tax makes up around one third of the
cost of a pint sold in a pub.
Pubs pay 2.8% of the total amount paid in business rates, but account for only
0.5% of total business turnover. Various relief schemes have been brought in,
but these have been time limited and haven’t affected licensees coping with the
largest rates increases.
The next Government needs to undertake a full review of business rates in
England to fix the unfair overpayment by the pub sector permanently.
In 2016 the Government introduced a Pubs Code and Adjudicator in England
and Wales to govern the relationship between large pub companies and their
licensees. This followed many years of CAMRA’s campaigning against the shortterm business practices of large pub companies which led to underinvestment
in pubs, pub closures and high prices.
The Code is currently under review, and it needs substantial changes to the
legislation underpinning it to make it finally deliver for tenants. This includes
fixing loopholes that allow pub companies to game the Code and making sure
that tenants have access to the same levels of information as their pub
The new Government needs to seize the opportunity of the review to make
changes to the Pubs Code Regulations to fix the problems with the existing
Pulling together to support beer and cider
Three consecutive cuts in beer duty from 2013-2015, followed by a freeze in
2016, gave the sector a huge boost. Despite a further freeze in 2018, beer duty
in the UK remains much higher than other nearby brewing nations, meaning
that brewers are unable to properly invest in their businesses.
Should the UK leave the EU, this will present an opportunity for the UK
Government to re-balance the tax differential between the on-trade and the
off-trade and demonstrate support for the vast majority of consumers who
drink responsibly and in social environments.
A lower rate of duty for draught beer sold in pubs could be introduced to
recognise the social benefits of alcohol being consumed in regulated, social
This year the Government introduced a new duty band for cider between 6.9%
abv and 7.5% abv in strength. This measure was brought in to target cheap, low
cost ‘white’ ciders that are nothing like the natural, high quality and price point
product that real cider producers make.
The existing duty band should not be widened, and the rate of duty should not
be raised above any other across the board duty increases.