The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has welcomed the launch of a new consultation by BEIS (the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to make National Minimum Wage rules more flexible. The consultation has been launched alongside the Good Work Plan, which sets out the Government’s vision for the UK labour market, implementing recommendations from the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “We welcome the decision by BEIS to launch a consultation to make National Minimum Wage rules more flexible. The move comes after the BBPA and others raised concerns over how restrictive the current National Minimum Wage conditions are, which unfairly penalise responsible companies. For example, the current conditions mean that employers who pay on a monthly basis have a month to correct any errors in pay, whilst those who pay on a weekly basis only get one week to correct any errors. “The consultation will look at Salary Sacrifice Schemes and their impact on the National Minimum Wage. We would welcome flexibility that is in the interest of the employee for this to address current irregularities. For example, pub chef’s knives which are commonly bought through Salary Sacrifice Schemes. “The consultation will also look at Salaried Workers for National Minimum Wage purposes, but at present this does not allow for the inclusion of those who are paid on a fortnightly or four-weekly basis, so in our consultation response we’ll be pushing to support this. “More broadly, this consultation needs to look into compliance when it comes to the National Minimum Wage to correctly ensure that protecting workers is front of mind as opposed to penalising businesses for the sake of it.”
Analysis by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) suggests that almost 2,000 pubs in Wales will benefit from the Welsh Government’s decision to further invest in and extend the high street rates relief scheme in 2019-2020. The move will see each high street business receive a £2,500 cut to their rates next year. The analysis by the BBPA also found that the rates relief for pubs on the high street will be worth £4 million in total, with 500 pubs being taken out of business rates altogether. Commenting on the new high street relief scheme in Wales, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “As a judge of this year’s Great British High Street’s competition, I had the pleasure to visit finalists in both Holywell and Cowbridge; both great examples of what good local partnerships can achieve, but there is so much more that we can do. The high street is an important part of any town or city. Of course, pubs are the heart of the community and an important part of the high street offer, but as an industry they face considerable cost pressures from a range of sources; particularly high beer duty, unfair business rates and VAT. “These measures by the Welsh Government to not only extend, but also increase investment in the high streets relief scheme are most welcome. Nearly 2,000 pubs in Wales will benefit from the rates relief with 500 pubs being taken out of business rates altogether. For some pubs, it could be the difference between staying open rather than closing their doors for good.” ENDS For further information, please contact: David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151/ 07557 405 815 Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: 020 7627 9156/ 07824 359 013 Adam Beazley, Communications & Campaigns Officer: 020 7627 9155 / 07507 836 708 Notes to editors: BBPA analysis based on data from the Valuation Office Agency found: 1,917 pubs will benefit from the new high street rates relief in Wales The new high streets rates relief in Wales will be worth £4,012,674 to pubs in total 500 pubs will be taken out of business rates all together from the high street rates relief changes The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.
The Department of Health and Social Care has published its formal response to the consultation on low alcohol product labelling, confirming a previously widely-reported decision that there will be no changes to the descriptors for low and no alcohol products. Commenting on the decision, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Confirmation of this decision is bitterly disappointing. The Department of Health has missed this opportunity to give consumers greater clarity when it comes to the labelling of low alcohol beers. “Changing the current definition of ‘alcohol free’ beer from 0.05% ABV to 0.5% ABV – as we suggested during the consultation process – would have brought the UK in line with the rest of Europe and other global markets. This creates the perverse situation whereby beers at 0.5% ABV produced in Europe can be sold in the UK as “alcohol free”, but British brewers brewing at the same strength must label their beer differently. This is discrimination and will create confusion for consumers. “Whilst we have already seen significant growth in the low alcohol beer sector, the Government has failed to implement changes that would enable Britain’s brewers to further innovate and promote lower strength drinks to stimulate this growth further. “A decision by the Australian Government to introduce tax reductions for ‘lighter’ beer has already led to growth of such beers to occupy 25% of the market there. Sadly then, this decision by the UK Government represents a missed opportunity to provide a similar incentive here and gives no encouragement to those seeking to moderate their alcohol consumption. “There is plenty of evidence to show that moderate drinking brings health benefits, and beer, which is typically a low strength form of alcohol, is a great way to enjoy a well-earned drink whilst supporting your local pub.” ENDS For further information, please contact: David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151/ 07557 405 815 Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: 020 7627 9156/ 07824 359 013 Adam Beazley, Communications & Campaigns Officer: 020 7627 9155 / 07507 836 708 Notes to editors: The response to the consultation can be found here. The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s