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Beer Duty

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CAMRA’s campaign to reform beer tax

Our pubs face one of the highest rates of beer duty in Europe, and this high level of tax is one of the key factors squeezing publicans and forcing them to either put up prices for consumers or close their doors forever.

The good news is that CAMRA’s campaigning has won a landmark change in the way beer is taxed, persuading the Government to create a new, lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs. This step will begin to level the playing field between the price of beer sold in social, community settings and cheap supermarket alcohol consumed at home.

This is something CAMRA has campaigned on for many years, and we’ll keep working to help ensure that consumers, brewers and publicans can enjoy the maximum benefits of this ground-breaking new policy.

The Detail

  • Taxing beer differently depending on whether it’s consumed in a supervised community setting or at home is a positive step.
  • CAMRA believe that the pub is the best place to drink, and we’re glad the Government recognise this too.
  • We’ve already successfully campaigned for the creation of the new rate of tax, and for it to apply to a larger range of containers.
  • However, in its current form this legislation would stop most takeaway sales happening.
  • These sales are a unique cultural feature in many pubs, especially in rural areas, and serve an important purpose for licensees and consumers alike.

 So what’s next?

The legislation that creates the new, lower rate of tax for beer and cider sold on draught needs improving. At the moment, a draught container that has the lower rate of tax paid can’t be ‘decanted’ for consumption off the premises as a measure to prevent fraud. However, this prevents any sales of takeaway pints, unless the higher rate of tax has been paid on the whole container.

Takeaway pints and CAMRA’s campaigning

The Government’s decision to prevent all repackaging of beer that has paid the lower rate of tax is going to have a range of knock-on effects, and CAMRA is calling for Government to take a common-sense approach and amend this legislation as soon as possible. 

So far, we’ve worked with our partners in the industry and the Treasury to look at potential solutions, and the Treasury has agreed to include an option for large draught containers to pay the higher rate of tax. This vital exemption will mean that businesses that rely on takeaway sales like bottle shops, some taprooms, and refill shops, will be able to keep trading. 

We’ve also engaged with Parliament, discussed the issue with the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, responded to Treasury consultations and worked to try and amend legislation in the House of Commons. 

Next we’ll be focusing on securing an option to sell takeaway pints at the Autumn Budget.

Find out more

Click below to learn about how and why CAMRA campaigns to reform beer tax.

You can find research from Europe Economics on the benefits of reform, see beer writer Jonny Garrett talk about some of the issues affecting cask beer, and read CAMRA’s full policy submission to the Government’s Alcohol Duty Review.

Chair of the Pubs APPG, Charlotte Nichols MP meets with CAMRA National Chairman, Nik Antona in Westminster.