The death of the great British pub – The tax burden

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A recent study suggests the ever increasing price of alcohol in pubs is causing many people to drink at home instead.   

A quiet pint at the end of a busy day may sound like the ideal way to wind down. For many others, the increasing price of that pint is making it an unaffordable luxury.

In a recent survey, 54% of people admitted the increasing price of a pint detered them from wanting to visit their local pub. This is a worrying trend which is seeing many pub owners fall on hard times.

Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton said: “The Government recognises the crucial role that pubs play in the social and economic life of our nation. This is why the Government has made support available to pubs.

“Through the Asset of Communty value scheme, communties can list facilities of local importance, including pubs. This means that if a pub owner wishes to sell up, the community has six months to come up wth a plan and funding in order to save it.

“To further support pubs, the chancellor announced in the Autumn Budget 2018 a freeze on beer, cider and spirit duties.

The UK has one of the higest rates of beer duty in Europe. According to Long Live the Local, The last a beer duty escellator was in place there was a 24% decline in beer sales, meaning 5,000 pubs closed and 58,000 people lost their jobs.

a pub infographic

The UK is paying 40% of all beer duty in Europe, while only consuming 12% of the beer.

An HM Treasury spokesperson said: “Pubs are often the heart of our communities which is why we’ve frozen beer duty for the second year running.

“Three quarters of pubs in England can also benefit from business rates relief introduced at Budget 2017 – saving them up to £1,000 a year.”

These business rate reliefs however, are a drop in the ocean compared to the amount pubs a re paying annually.

While beer prices in pubs are on the rise, you’ll likely find that a bottle of beer in your local supermarket will remain unchanged. This is beacuse supermarkets are not taxed the same way as pubs, and many large supermarket chains sell alcohol as loss leaders.

This is an issue which angers many. Memebers of the public shared their views with a survey; “Fine, No problem paying tax where tax is due. I do however feel that the supermarkets should be made to feel the same pain. If a supermarket beer was £3:50 and a pub beer is £3.50 then I’m pretty sure that all pubs would benefit.” 

“Why would you want to go to the pub especailly when you can pick up a slab of ‘beer’ from Asda? We tell ourselves we can’t aford to go to the pub, while subscribing to Netflix
and Amazon Prime. We’ve forgotten that the most dangerous thing we can
do (in the Government’s eyes) is to turn off our television and go out, down
the pub and TALK to other people”

Stand up to beer duty increases by lobbying your MP here.

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