General / 10 July 2014

BBPA manifesto sets out top priorities for beer and pub sector

The British Beer & Pub Association has set out its priorities for a thriving beer and pub sector up to 2020, with the publication of a manifesto. The BBPA’s calls for lower taxes, policies to promote growth and support for partnership and self-regulation, will be used to make the case for beer and pubs to politicians from all parties in the run-up to the General Election next year.

Fairer taxes are a top priority, with the BBPA calling for further cuts in beer duty, building on the success of the tax cuts in 2012 and 2013. The UK beer tax burden remains disproportionately high, compared with most of the UK’s European neighbours. The BBPA also wants to see more initiatives aimed at reducing the business rates burden for community and high street pubs, and a review of the case for a lower rate of VAT on pub and restaurant meals. Encouraging exports should continue to receive support and the small brewer relief scheme needs improvement.

As part of policies to promote a thriving sector, a reduction in the regulatory burden is called for, including a moratorium on new licensing regulation. There are also calls for innovation from policy-makers on initiatives that could help the sector as well as local communities, such as using pubs as central Wi-Fi hubs, as well as a commitment to support the tied pub model, with its low cost of entry for new pub entrepreneurs.

When it comes to partnerships and self-regulation, the BBPA is asking the parties to make self-regulation the default position for tackling issues around alcohol harm, rather than legislation. The association therefore wants more support for voluntary initiatives and partnerships, such as Pubwatch, Best Bar None, Business Improvement Districts and community alcohol partnerships. Advertising restrictions on promoting lower-strength products need to be removed.

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, comments.

“With the General election just months away, our focus is on persuading politicians that with the right policies, we can have a thriving beer and pub sector serving local communities, and with investment and employment growth. Our manifesto will help us to make a clear and strong case on all these issues, with a further duty cut in the Budget in March 2015 our immediate priority.”

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