The British Beer & Pub Association has today welcomed the extension of funding for the More Than a Pub programme. The new funding will enable more communities across England to take control of their local pub with the support of community business experts the Plunkett Foundation. This funding builds on the current More Than a Pub programme, which is jointly funded by Power to Change and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. The programme is led by the Plunkett Foundation in collaboration with Key Fund, Co-operative and Community Finance, The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Co-operative Mutual Solutions, Pub is the Hub, Locality and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Pubs are at the heart of our communities and play a vital role in our lives. Sadly though, too many are closing their doors for good. The More Than a Pub programme will boost community pubs across the UK and help those where there is the most impact of pub closures. “The pub is far more than just a place to drink and the More Than a Pub programme will also aid the work of other initiatives such as Pub is the Hub to show how valuable our local pubs are.”
The British Beer & Pub Association has responded to the Department for Health and Social Care consultation on mandatory calorie labelling for the out-of-home sector, including pubs. The BBPA does not support mandatory labelling of calories on menus for pubs, arguing that such measures will be extremely costly, resulting in reduced menu choices for customers and will disproportionately affect smaller pubs that will struggle to implement the proposed changes. Pubs have already taken a variety of voluntary measures to help consumers to make healthy choices. This includes identifying lower calorie options on menus and providing full nutritional information on websites. The BBPA has argued that forcing pubs to display calorie content, rather than doing so on a voluntary basis, will do very little to change consumer behaviour – citing recent studies in the United States and United Kingdom, where mandatory calorie labelling was shown to make no clear difference to calories consumed. In addition to highlighting the limited benefits mandatory calorie labelling would have, the BBPA has also described in its response how smaller pubs would be disproportionately affected by such measures, reducing competition in the sector and potentially undermining local economies. Feedback from BBPA members suggests the cost to determine calorie values for menu items would be far too high for pubs, the vast majority of which operate as small businesses. Licensees and pub operators already face considerable cost pressures elsewhere from beer duty, business rates, VAT and staffing costs, which has seen smaller pubs disproportionately close. Mandatory calorie labelling would only add to this burden and force smaller pubs to reduce their menu choice, further decreasing competitiveness and diversity in the market. The innovative and diverse menus pubs offer make them ideal food venues throughout the year, whether as an indulgent treat, celebration or a social gathering with family or friends. Restricting this offer will be of real detriment to the Great British pub and the communities they serve. However, interventions which result in reduced menu choices will be also be likely to reduce the number of healthy menu options available to consumers. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Mandatory calorie labelling will be hugely detrimental for pubs and we would urge DHSC to look at more collaborative ways to work with the sector instead. “Many pubs already voluntarily choose to provide information about the food they serve to help customers seeking to make healthy choices. The overwhelming evidence suggests that forcing pubs to display calorie content would have no tangible impact on behaviour. “Calorie labelling will be prohibitively expensive for the sector, in particular for the vast majority of those pubs which are small businesses. Considering the cost burden pubs already face from beer duty, business rates, VAT and staffing costs, mandatory calorie labelling could be another nail in the coffin for many pubs. “Our great British pubs are iconic and at the heart of communities across the UK. We should be helping, not hindering, pubs. DHSC should consider collaborative ways of working with the sector to help consumers who wish to make healthier food choices. However, should mandatory measures be imposed we would urge exemptions for smaller businesses such as pubs.”  See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26526247 and https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/862-1-1606_UU_Caloriewise_Report_final_160514_FINAL.pdf  ONS Economics of Ale data
The British Beer & Pub Association has welcomed new research that shows UK brewers are amongst the biggest and best in Europe. However, the tax burden they face compared to their European counterparts is holding them back, it argues. The new research, released by The Brewers of Europe, finds that the UK is one of the biggest producers of beer in Europe, brewing 4 billion litres of beer – equivalent to 10% of the total production in Europe. This figure places the UK only behind Germany, which produces 9.3 billion litres of beer. As well as being one of the leading brewing nations, UK drinkers also pay the most tax on their beer, stumping up almost 40% of all beer duty in Europe. The BBPA argues that this shows the growth potential the UK brewing sector has, and if taxation on beer in the UK was brought closer in line with that of Germany, it would see the sector grow even more. At present, beer duty in the UK on a pint of 5% ABV beer is 54 pence. In Germany, the duty on the same pint would be just five pence. The beer duty freezes put in place by the Chancellor in his two most recent Budgets help the UK’s brewing sector to grow and invest. Whilst the UK may be the second largest beer producer, in terms of per capita consumption it is way down on the list, and its on-trade and off-trade split is still healthy. Without doubt the great British pub still has an important part to play in this. To build on the UK brewing sectors’ leading position in Europe and catch-up with Germany, as well as to help pubs, the BBPA continues to ask for a cut or freeze to beer duty. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “We should be proud that the UK is one of the biggest producers of beer in Europe, brewing 10% of all the beer produced. Considering that we pay some of the highest tax on beer in Europe, this is no mean feat. “The beer tax burden is harming UK brewers and holding back growth, as shown by the gap between the UK and Germany. Germany’s beer tax is approximately twelve times less than that of the UK and as a result, it brews over twice as much beer as us. “Recent freezes on beer duty by the Chancellor have been proven to support UK brewers’ growth, help pubs stay open and increase revenue for HMRC. It’s a no brainer to reduce beer duty, so let’s hope the Chancellor continues to recognise this.”  2018 edition of Beer Statistics, compiled from data collated by national brewers’ associations through surveys carried out by The Brewers of Europe and Eurostat. The full report (including charts and visuals) are available here with the password: stats4press  As above  BBPA data  As above  As above
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