The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has urged the Chancellor today to consider people who brew, serve and enjoy the beer when he delivers his Budget this afternoon.
The society claims independent brewers create 800 jobs a year, make 500 million pints but pay one of the highest beer duties in the world – three times the EU average.
To illustrate the tax burden, SIBA said the UK drinks only 12 per cent of Europe's beer, but pays 40 per cent of Europe's beer tax.
It claimed the beer duty escalator "accelerated community pub closures resulting in the loss of many thousands of jobs across the country and ripping the heart out of many communities".
The "single biggest threat" to community pubs, according to SIBA, was high business rates. Pubs "overpay" by £500m a year, due to contributing 2.8 per cent of the total rates bill, while generating just 0.5 per cent of business turnover.
The organisation has also created a seven step plan to assist brewers and publicans for the Treasury to consider:
- Reform to the tax relief small breweries receive
- At least a freeze in the headline rate beer duty - but ideally a cut
- A commitment to scrap the automatic RPI uprating of beer duty
- An urgent business taxation review by making online businesses pay a fairer share
- An increase in the annual business rate relief for pubs from £1,000 to £5,000, and the relief made permanent
- A review of cider duty to benefit public services and public health by bringing substitute products in line with one another
- A commitment to allow divergence from the conditions set within the EU structures directive in a post Brexit era.
Chief executive of SIBA, Mike Benner, said: "The Chancellor has an opportunity to give a boost to UK pubs and brewers.
"Pubs are closing at an alarming rate and this hostile business environment is impacting on UK brewers, too. Unlike wine, the vast majority of the UK's beer is made right here, in every constituency in the UK so this matters to every MP, too.
"The community pub and the local brewery are vital institutions, creating jobs, social spaces and helping to tackle important problems like in society like loneliness.
"Pubs and local breweries are a force for good in society."