Pubs and beer duty

Thank you for contacting me about alcohol and beer duty.

I agree that pubs form an integral part of the community and the hospitality sector is vital to our local economy.

In 2013, the Government took the decision to end the beer duty escalator, and beer duty has been frozen or cut several times since then. Duty on spirits has been frozen over the past two years. As a result of these changes, a typical pint is cheaper than it would have been had these measures not been introduced. I share your concern about the future of pubs and the hardship caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The steps taken by HMRC to make it easier to claim back the duty on any beer thrown away as a result of pub closures were a timely and sensible intervention.

I therefore welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that, for the second year running, alcohol duties will be frozen, covering duty on spirits, beer, wine, and cider which will save drinkers £1.7 billion.

I also welcome the temporary cut to VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for all food and non-alcoholic drinks, which has been extended until the end of September and will be followed by a 12.5 per cent rate until 31 March 2022. Pubs will also benefit from reduced business rates until 31 March 2022.
I led the initial campaign in 2020 to cut VAT to 5 per cent, and earlier this year I ran a survey to consult with local businesses in the Tourism and Hospitality sector. I wrote to the Chancellor with the findings from this survey, calling for additional steps to be taken to support this essential sector including the extension of the 5 per cent VAT rate. I am pleased this feedback was reflected in the Chancellor’s budget announcement, and will continue to fight for our vibrant Tourism and Hospitality sector which is so important to our local economy.
See more about my survey and its findings here:…

I am encouraged that the Government and the Treasury recognise the importance of supporting our pubs and keeping costs down for customers. I welcome the Chancellor’s commitment in the recent Budget to extend this support. There is a broad recognition of the need to reform the current duty system to support the alcoholic drinks and pubs sector in the longer term, and on 1 October, a call for evidence for reform of Alcohol Duty was published.