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Chancellor George Osborne toasts his budget at Banks's Brewery in Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Chancellor George Osborne raises a glass at Banks's Brewery this afternoon in the wake of his Budget move to cut 1p off the duty on a pint of beer.

He arrived at the Chapel Ash headquarters this afternoon where he met with brewery bosses and Wolverhampton South West MP Paul Uppal.

The move has been widely welcomed by the brewing and pub-owning industry, facing tough competition from cheaper prices in supermarkets.

His visit to Banks's brewer Marston's comes as the company, which employs around 1,000 people at its brewery and headquarters, invests in opening dozens of new pub-restaurants every year, creating hundreds of jobs nationwide.

Mr Osborne's decision to cut beer duty has been warmly greeted by Richard Westwood, managing director of the group's brewing arm, Marston's Beer Company.

He said: "This news is more than we had expected. It safeguards hundreds of jobs across the industry and allows for future planning and investing back into our business with a better level of certainty.

"It will undoubtedly stimulate growth across the sector for the second year running. Its great news for companies like Marston's which create a lot of new jobs every year."

Mr Osborne's move to knock 1p of beer and scrap the so-called 'duty escalator', which has hiked duty year after year, comes after heavy lobbying from the brewing industry that has seen tax on beer rise by 40 per cent since 2008. About a third of the price of pint now goes in tax.

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After the visit, Mr Osborne tweeted about his time in the city.

His future tax plans for the brewing industry were likely to be the main topic of conversation during Mr Osborne's meeting with Marston's bosses during today's visit, during which he was also shown around the Wolverhampton site's kegging facility, where the barrels are filled with beer before delivery to pubs across the UK.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor arrives in the city as it braces itself for 2,000 job cuts among the local authority's workforce. The council has blamed cuts to its budget imposed by the Government for the axing of jobs and services across the city.

Earlier, Mr Osborne was in the East Midlands where he visited Boal Aluminium UK. His visit came as it was revealed that the change in how VAT is taxed could mean the end of the 99p music download from digital stores like iTunes and Google Play.

He has put in place legislation, coming into effect next year, that would require online retailers such as Apple and Amazon to put VAT on downloads based on a customer's location.

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