Over 8,000 beer and pub lovers demand support from Chancellor in Autumn Statement
CAMRA writes to the Exchequer Secretary demanding cancellation of tax rises and continuing support with energy and business rates
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has written to James Cartlidge MP, the new Exchequer Secretary for the Treasury, echoing the concerns of over 8,000 people who have written to their MP asking for support for hospitality businesses in the Autumn Statement.
The letter highlights devastating figures from the Office for National Statistics (1), which shows that food and drink businesses are most likely to cut trading by at least two days a week to reduce energy costs.
The Campaign has asked the Government to:
- Cancel inflationary rises for beer and cider duties, to keep price rises down for consumers.
- Extend the energy support for hospitality businesses beyond April.
- Cut VAT for on-trade food and alcohol to help tackle inflationary price rises.
- Properly reform the business rates system, to tackle the unfair burden on pubs and social clubs.
CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said:
“With the recent changes in Government dominating the headlines, you could be forgiven for forgetting the very real and serious situation facing the licensed trade – rising costs, inflation, a looming business rates revaluation, sky high energy bills and uncertainty on Government support past April next year.
“When Governments are changing and Ministers are being reshuffled, it’s more important than ever to make sure that issues affecting consumers, pubs, clubs, brewers, and cider makers are in MPs inboxes.
“That’s why we’re asking everyone to go to www.camra.org.uk/budget2022 and email their MP ahead of Thursday’s Autumn Statement, asking them support cancelling inflationary rises in beer and cider tax, and confirming support on energy bills and business rates beyond April next year.”
Notes to editors
(1) Business Insights and Conditions Survey from Office for National Statistics can be found here.
The full text of the letter to James Cartlidge MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury reads:
James Cartlidge MP
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road
15 November 2022
Dear James Cartlidge,
RE: The Autumn Statement and pubs, social clubs, brewers, cider makers and consumers
Firstly, on behalf of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and our 160,000 members across the UK, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.
We look forward to working with you on the swift implementation of the Alcohol Duty Review, and particularly the new rate of duty for draught beer and cider – a ground-breaking policy that will encourage the drinking of beer and cider in the regulated, community environment of local pubs and social clubs.
However, the licensed trade is under an immediate and pressing threat from inflation, the looming business rates revaluation and energy costs, which must be addressed through targeted ongoing support in the Autumn Statement.
Pubs and social cubs are vital community facilities, but they cannot continue to provide this service – including a warm meeting space for people – if they are forced to close or reduce their trading hours.
Just yesterday, new figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that food and drink service businesses were most likely to report plans to cut trading by at least two days per week to reduce energy costs.1
Only two weeks ago, a survey of hospitality businesses by leading trade associations found that2:
- 35% expected to be operating at a loss or unviable by the end of the year
- 96% were experiencing higher energy costs
- 93% were experiencing higher food costs
- 89% were unconfident or pessimistic that current government support will protect the industry in the next 6 months
Please make sure this Autumn Statement provides some assurances and certainty for pubs and social clubs, and the brewers and cider makers that supply them.
Consumers across the UK are deeply worried about the licensed trade, which is why over 8,000 people have already emailed their MPs ahead on Thursday’s Statement, asking for:
- Reinstatement of the freeze in beer and cider duties, to prevent massive inflationary rises in the cost of a pint for consumers
- Extending the energy support scheme for businesses to cover the hospitality sector beyond April – giving businesses certainty for the future
- Cutting VAT for on-trade food and alcohol to help tackle inflationary price rises.
- Properly reforming the business rates system to remove the current unfair burden on hospitality businesses and prevent devastating bill rises similar to those seen in the 2017 revaluation.
Please make sure that the Autumn Statement gives pubs, social clubs, brewers and cider makers some certainty, and I look forward to working with you in the future to further the interests of consumers of beer, cider and perry.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with over 160,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.