Responding to the Chancellor’s Fiscal Statement, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “We welcome the steps taken by the Government in the Chancellor’s fiscal statement. The measures announced today will mean a boost of £500m for our sector, enabling growth following successive crises and allowing us to thrive in the future. Coupled with this week’s intervention on energy bills, these commitments will make a significant difference to our pubs and brewers at an acutely difficult time. “The Chancellor’s plans show that the Government recognises how extreme the cost of doing business has become and the enormous investment our sector makes, not only in the economy, but to the social fabric of communities across the breadth of the UK and why it must be protected. We look forward to the continued reduction of taxation on the sector at the next Budget - the need for a reduced VAT rate for hospitality and business rates reliefs remain as strong as ever. “We will continue to work with the Government to ensure that reforms to the draft beer duty rates are brought forward as soon as possible, meaning that our pubs and brewers can contribute to, and be at the heart of villages, towns and cities for many years to come.”
Leaders of trade bodies representing pubs, brewers, bars, restaurants and hotels have written to the Chancellor ahead of the fiscal statement later this week warning that a lack of clarity on energy package could be fatal for businesses In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, representatives from across the hospitality industry called for urgent clarity on the energy cap for businesses and wider support and a long-term plan to secure the future of the sector and save businesses and jobs across the UK. They warned that business owners were making decisions now about whether they could survive the winter, and simply could not wait any longer to understand whether they should sign new contracts or not. The letter came as No 10 said information on energy support for businesses would be announced in the fiscal statement but payments might need to be backdated to October. The trade associations also urged the Government to think beyond the next six months, noting that ‘whilst the energy cap will be a critical lifeline and stem the situation over the next six months…more is needed to ensure businesses can head into winter knowing they have the chance to not only survive but thrive again’. They called on the Chancellor to bring forward the following measures to support the industry both now but also looking to the longer-term: an immediate reduction on VAT on all food and drink sales across hospitality cancellation of business rates for the remainder of this fiscal year for all hospitality businesses regardless of size In addition, the bodies stated that the regulatory burden placed on the sector needed to be eased, noting how upcoming Alcohol Duty and business rates reform had the potential to further reduce taxes on an already fragile sector. In a joint statement industry leaders said: “An energy price guarantee for business will provide some short-term relief for businesses on the brink of closure, but more support is needed, as well as a plan beyond the next six months. The initial announcement helped businesses breathe an initial sigh of relief, but most are still in the dark as to how the guarantee might help them. “Our industry is one of only a few that supports jobs and livelihoods in every single part of the UK, and we have the potential to deliver growth in every single community we serve, but we’re being held back. We need policies that ensure our survival through the winter which will allow us to invest in the long-term potential of our sector, action on the tax burdens that are stunting our growth and a government that understands the extremely critical situation we’re currently in.” Read the full letter here.
Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement on energy bills for businesses, Emma McClarkin Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “By committing to an energy price cap for businesses today the PM has shown she understands just how critical the energy crisis has become for our breweries and pubs, and just how important pubs and brewers are to their communities. Whilst we still need detail on the level of the cap, this intervention will hopefully help thousands of business owners to breathe a little easier over energy bills in the coming winter months. “This announcement will avert the immediate threat of the energy crisis for businesses, but we need clarity and assurance for the long-term so our brewers and pubs can plan effectively and thrive at their heart of their communities long into the future. The cost of doing business is still a very real threat for many but we are encouraged by the direction this Government is going in. Now we need to hear more on business rates, VAT and keeping beer duty low.”