A pub association has called on the coalition government to protect nearly a million jobs in an industry worth more than £21 billion by freezing beer duty in next week’s Budget.
A study by economic forecasting consultancy Oxford Economics, commissioned by the British Beer & Pub Association, pointed to the “vital role” the sector played, particularly in London and Westminister, where some 4,575 pubs and 35 breweries employ just under 100,000 people, contributing £3.2 billion to the local economy.
But the BBPA warned that the government’s proposed 7% hike in beer tax could damage all of that. The organisation’s chief executive Brigid Simmonds said that the figures showed what a “huge impact” pubs and beer sales had on the UK economy, especially in terms of local employment.
“Beer is vital to the economy and pubs are the heart of our communities. The last thing local pubs and pub-goers need is a further beer tax hike in the Budget next week when instead we could be leading the economy out of recession and creating local jobs. The government needs to think again,” she said.
About 1,300 pubs closed across the country last year, with the loss of 13,000 jobs, although the rate of closure had now dropped from 40 per week last year to 25 a week, the report revealed. Losses were highest in London and the north-west of England.
“With the right policies, this vital part of our tourism and hospitality sector could be creating new jobs and helping to bring Britain out of recession. If we really do have a pub-friendly government as the Prime Minister says, the time to act is now – with a freeze on beer duty in the Budget,” Simmonds said.