General Election 2019

A General Election has been called for the 12th of December 2019. The BBPA have produced a brief manifesto which sets out how candidates running for election can back beer and pubs. Below is a very short summary of the issues that what we want to see candidates consider, the full manifesto can be downloaded here. If you would like further information our full manifesto briefing document is available here.

Below is a short video which summarises the key ways in which candidates can back brewing and pubs.

The UK has the third highest rate of beer duty in Europe. Its eleven times higher here than in Germany for example. Across the EU we pay 40% of all the beer duty, but drink just 12% of the beer! A modest cut in duty would keep beer prices affordable and stimulate investment in the sector.

Pubs operate under an enormous business rates burden, paying 2.8% of the total business rates bill but account for just 0.5% of rateable turnover. A cut in business rates would help keep pubs open and would begin to redress the unfair system that we currently operate in.

Over the last two years the Long Live the Local campaign has seen hundreds of thousands of people and tens of thousands of individual pubs backing a cut in beer duty. This year alone well over 200,000 people have signed the petition calling on the Chancellor to take action.

The legislation that brought the Pubs Code into being is barely three years old. Such a significant piece of legislation needs time to bed in and any further burdensome legislation impacting brewing and pubs should be resisted.

Pubs are at the heart of communities up and down the country. In many villages, towns and cities across the UK the pub will act not only as a place to eat and drink, but also as the post office, the library, the local shop and any number of other local amenities. Moreover pubs are a vital part of the UK’s tourism offer, with pubs regularly featuring on the list of tourists’ top three things to do when they visit the UK.

With an average strength of just 4%, beer is already the low-strength beer of choice. However recent years have seen an explosion in innovation where low and no alcohol beer is concerned.

Current regulations mean that beer products containing very low levels of alcohol, 0.5% for example (a level of alcohol that you can find in a banana for example), cannot be marketed as “alcohol free” but such products imported from other European markets can be marketed as such. Moreover, currently beer that is 2.8% or lower currently attracts a lower rate of beer tax, but a small change in this, increasing the threshold to 3.5% for example, would give brewers much more flexibility when brewing and yet is still a very low strength drink. A change in the regulations here would create a more level playing field and enable our brilliant brewers to innovate even further.

Brewers and pubs have long been at the forefront of the promotion of responsible drinking. We want pubs to continue to be promoted as the home of responsible drinking, open and accessible to people from all walks of life.