A manifesto outlining what the next government should do to help the licensing industry thrive has been published by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
Research shows that more than 80 per cent of Britain's 48,000 pubs are run as individual small businesses, but they face major challenges, the manifesto says.
These include a disproportionate tax burden, especially when it comes to beer duty and business rates, meaning one in every three pounds spent in the pub goes to the taxman.
The manifesto urges the new government to commit to backing the 200,000 supporters of the Long Live the Local campaign, who have signed the petition calling for a cut in beer tax.
It also adds that pubs face sharply rising costs in the form of the National Living Wage, pension auto-enrolment and the apprenticeship levy. This, it notes, is also combined with an acute shortage of pub chefs and kitchen staff at a time when a quality food offer is becoming critical for pubs to thrive.
The manifesto also describes how pubs and brewers have a unique role to play in a post-Brexit world, ranging from helping British businesses and tourism thrive, to enhancing Britain's reputation overseas.
However, to achieve this, the manifesto outlines that the UK needs the most competitive tax and regulatory regime in Europe post-Brexit.
The trade association is calling on all political parties to commit to support UK beer and pubs by:
- Implementing a real-terms cut in beer duty over the course of the next parliament
- Backing the 200,000+ supporters of the Long Live the Local campaign
- Addressing the unfairness of the business rates system
- Recognising the growing cost burden of pub businesses
- Not adding further burdensome regulation to the beer and pub sector
- Providing greater flexibility to promote and market lower strength beer
- Enabling a trading relationship with the EU that allows for the seamless movement of beer
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "Pubs and brewing are not only vital to the UK economy, but to our culture and way of life as well. The next Government must recognise this and work to create an environment in which they can thrive.
"Our manifesto sets out what the next Government can and should do to support our sector. I hope candidates in all parties recognise the importance of brewing and pubs in the communities they seek to serve, and help promote these policies our sector urgently needs."