Express & Star

Ministers urged to ramp up support for pubs after Budget boost

An MP has called on ministers to ramp up support for the beer industry to get people out of their living rooms and back into the pubs.

Pubs got a boost in the Budget but more needs to be done, an MP has said

Mike Wood hailed measures announced in the Budget to slash beer and cider duty by five per cent and extend business rates relief.

The Dudley South MP said that while both measures would help pubs and bars get back on their feet after the pandemic, more needed to be done to "level the playing field" with supermarkets.

Mr Wood, who is chair of the all party parliamentary beer group, was name-checked by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget for his campaign to back British pubs.

The Chancellor announced a five per cent reduction in duty on beer and cider served from draught containers over 40 litres, but Mr Wood says he is "confident" the container size will be reduced to 20 litres next year.

"The current system excludes smaller and medium sized breweries that sell a lot of beer in 30 or 20 litre containers," Mr Wood said.

He said it was crucial for the future of pubs in areas such as the Black Country that the differential was reduced between the price of beer bought in supermarkets with that bought in pubs.

"That will level the playing field for pubs, which obviously cost a lot more to keep running, but offer a far greater social, cultural and economic value than if people are drinking at home," Mr Wood said.

"Clearly, there is very widespread support for the view that beer sold in pubs ought to pay less duty than beer sold in supermarkets, including from some of the health lobby, which recognises that people are going to have a couple of drinks, and the safest place for them to do that is in a well regulated, licensed pub or bar.

"That's far better than people buying large quantities of very cheap, strong alcohol from a supermarket to drink at home or to drink out in the park."

A consultation on alcohol duty proposals runs until the end of January.

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