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  • BBPA calls on Southwark and Redbridge councils to reconsider punitive levy

    16 May 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called on Southwark and Redbridge councils to reconsider their proposals to introduce Late-Night Levies (LNL) as they would be damaging for their local pubs. Responding to recent consultations on LNLs in both Southwark and Redbridge, the BBPA has outlined its opposition to LNLs, arguing that they are in effect a direct and punitive tax on local businesses like pubs that are already disproportionately burdened with a range of taxes, business rates and other overheads. The beer and pub sector alone already pays £58.6m in tax in Southwark and £16.5m in tax in Redbridge. The BBPA also believes that LNLs do not work effectively in addressing local late-night alcohol-related issues. This is reflective of a House of Lords committee report on the Licensing Act 2003, which assessed LNLs, finding that they “failed to achieve [their] objectives and should be abolished.”[1] Additionally, the BBPA has also noted that many local authorities and police forces have acknowledged that alcohol-related issues are not caused by the majority of licensed premises, especially pubs offering late-night entertainment in a well-managed and responsible environment. The BBPA has therefore argued that there are far more effective local partnership models that can be used to address late-night alcohol-related issues, without damaging local businesses. For example, the use of Business Improvement Districts (BID) that enable local businesses to lead in the management of their night-time economy. Beyond this, there are a range of partnership working schemes already in place which the BBPA and wider pub sector fully support including Pubwatch, Best Bar None and Street Pastors. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “Introducing a Late-Night Levy is a backward step for any local authority. The current Late-Night Levy framework does not work effectively in addressing local late-night alcohol-related issues. It is a tax and unfair to well-run and responsible businesses such as pubs – many of which are SMEs already struggling to get by. “A Late-Night Levy will be a nail in the coffin for some community pubs. When business rates are the basis for the calculation, premises like pubs will pay a disproportionate share. Both Southwark and Redbridge should look at working in partnership with their late-night sector, not taxing them out of existence." [1] House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 (2017), The Licensing Act 2003: post-legislative scrutiny

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  • BBPA calls for a UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme that excludes glass

    14 May 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called on the Government and devolved administrations to work towards a fair, industry-led and effective UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) that excludes glass - a view widely shared across the drinks industry. The BBPA has also argued that busy pubs operating in a ‘closed loop’ environment where drinks are consumed on the premises should not be burdened with having to charge and refund deposits to customers. This is because many are small premises and must be exempt from being return points. This would be in line with proposals for Scotland.  For a DRS to be successful, the BBPA believes that it must align with other Government ambitions to tackle packaging waste, including proposals to improve the consistency of kerbside recycling and reforms of the existing Producer Packaging Responsibility Regulations. The BBPA has outlined these concerns separately in response to DEFRA consultations on Producer Responsibility and consistency of kerbside recycling. The BBPA remains firmly of the view that there should be one UK wide DRS system. Whilst the BBPA are committed to working with the Scottish Government on their proposals, the requirement for separate stock keeping units (SKUs) under a DRS operating only in Scotland and the proposed inclusion of glass will add significant costs, complexity and challenges for consumers and businesses alike in both Scotland and the rest of the UK. The BBPA is therefore calling for more analysis to understand the risks and benefits of having two separate schemes. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “The BBPA believes a UK-aligned DRS scheme for single use materials used for on-the-go packaging remains the optimal solution. We certainly do not believe that the additional costs and challenges with including glass can be justified.  “We have however, welcomed the decision in Scotland that pubs will be able to choose whether to charge a deposit, or whether to work within a ‘closed loop system’ with producers. The BBPA is committed to working with Government on a system which works for the brewing and pub sector, but it is essential that we are engaged and involved in detailed plans to make a system work before decisions are finalised.”

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  • BBPA welcomes Pubs Code and Pubs Code Adjudicator review

    30 April 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today commented on the announcement of the Pubs Code and Pubs Code Adjudicator review. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “The six companies covered by the Pubs Code have always been committed to working within both the letter and spirit of the legislation to support the success of leased and tenanted pubs and publicans alike. “Whilst there have been some challenges with parts of the implementation of the Code for all involved, the BBPA and the companies covered by the code continue to work closely with the Adjudicator and other stakeholders to resolve these. “The BBPA welcomes this consultation as a valuable opportunity to assess the ongoing impact of the Code and the effectiveness of the Adjudicator, as well as to make suggestions for improvements.”

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  • BBPA comments on Altus Group pub closure data

    23 April 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today commented on new pub closure data released by Altus Group. According to the data, almost 1,000 UK pubs closed in 2018 – a rate of 76 pubs a month. This was down from 138 closures a month during the previous seven years. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “It is great that pub closures decreased last year, and Altus Group is right that the Government’s support on business rates for smaller pubs has helped ease the decline. “However, too many pubs are still closing because of huge tax pressures from elsewhere, especially from eye-wateringly high beer duty and VAT, so we cannot be complacent. “On a typical pint we pay 46 pence in beer duty and cutting this is one of the best ways to help pubs. Pubs pay on average £140,000 in tax each year. This is why we support the Long Live the Local campaign, which is calling for a cut in beer tax, and as the BBPA we continue to ask for more help on business rates.”

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  • New regulations provide greater detail to publicans about allowances for beer wastage, says BBPA

    11 April 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today responded to the publication of new guidance by the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) for beer wastage allowances. The new guidance was published on Wednesday 10thApril and comes into effect from Monday 1stJuly. It seeks to give greater transparency to publicans on the inclusion of wastage allowances in their rent calculations. The new guidance comes after the PCA consulted the industry on the matter at the end of 2018. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “Brewers and pub operators have always made allowances for beer wastage to account for beer that can’t be sold. The BBPA therefore supported the PCA’s proposals to make these clearer and more transparent. “Unfortunately, in the new guidance, the PCA has increased the complexity of how allowances should be calculated and presented. This may confuse, rather than help, publicans. It will also lead to higher administrative costs and complexity for pub operators, who will need to modify their systems to reflect the greater detail now required. “The new guidance acknowledges that there could be situations where third party suppliers are unable to provide pub operators with all of the information they require.”

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  • BBPA welcomes House of Lords report on regenerating seaside towns

    04 April 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today welcomed a new report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities, titled: “The Future of Seaside Towns”. The report, which BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds contributed to through a Select Committee hearing, notes how many seaside towns continue to rely on tourism and hospitality as key economic drivers. Launched during English Tourism Week – the annual celebration of tourism in England – the report has fittingly recommended that a Sector Deal for Tourism could play a key role in regenerating seaside towns. In particular, it proposes that efforts are made to promote and champion hospitality – a key part of England’s tourism offer – as a rewarding and exciting career. Likewise, the report has noted concerns with regards to future Government migration policy, reflecting the views of the BBPA that any future immigration system must ensure that tourism and hospitality businesses, so crucial to seaside towns, have access to talent from abroad. Local leadership is identified in the report as being key to helping seaside towns regenerate and grow, as shown by Brighton, Colwyn Bay and Bogner Regis, who all reached the finals of the Great British High Street Awards. Investment and work undertaken by Dan Davies, CEO of Rockpoint Leisure, in New Brighton is also shown in the report as an example of how hospitality can play a leading role in the regeneration of seaside towns. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “We welcome this report and its recognition of the leading role hospitality and tourism businesses like pubs can play in the regeneration of seaside towns. “To help seaside towns prosper, it is vital that businesses like pubs get all the support they can to drive growth. It is encouraging that the report sees a Sector Deal for Tourism as playing a key role in regenerating seaside towns and that efforts should be made to champion and promote careers in the pub, hospitality and tourism industries. “Local licensing and planning authorities working together in support of the Agent of Change principle are also key to the future success of our seaside towns if they are to have a vibrant night time economy. It is important too that Local Economic Partnerships deliver on their core objectives to promote local economic growth and do not isolate coastal areas that are hard to tackle.”

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