Westminster Hall Debate on Taxation of the Beer and Pub Sector

On Tuesday I attended the debate on the taxation of the beer and pubs sector. The beer and pubs sector is vital to the economy and the debate was an opportunity to speak up for our pubs in Newton Abbot. The sector as a whole contributes over £23 billion annually and employs nearly one million people. Beer is our third largest food and drink export, worth more than £550 million, and the country has more than 2,000 breweries.

The beer and pub industry contributes a huge amount economically but also socially. Pubs in Newton Abbot provide over 2,000 local jobs and are a core part of our rural communities. Closures have a detrimental effect on community life.

A disproportionate burden is placed on pubs by business rates valuation based on turnover. Unfairly, pubs are measured on their actual turnover, not the perceived turnover for the square footage, so there is no fair comparison with the way in which rates are levied and measured in other industries in our country. Valuation based on turnover is a disincentive to invest in and improve the property and further increases in business rates and beer duty threaten the industry entirely. The £1,000 pub rate relief announced in the March Budget was welcome, however, the discretionary amounts available were not distributed to pubs quickly enough and guidance from Government was slow. For pubs to continue to flourish, they need a reduction in their tax burden.

The debate took place just three weeks before next month’s Budget is announced and I hope the key issues raised by my colleagues and I are taken into account. The Chancellor needs to act on the disproportionate burden of taxes on our pubs as well as conduct a thorough review of the whole business rates system. We must do more to support this vitally important industry that does so much economically and socially for the country.

Watch the debate: https://goo.gl/9sxKdS

Read a transcript: https://goo.gl/hyRhUn