Brewers under pressure as Government refuses to defer duty

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin calls for help for brewers
BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin calls for help for brewers

Related tags: coronavirus

The Government’s refusal to defer beer duty is a huge blow to the brewery sector, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has revealed.

The Government has rejected the call for a blanket deferral of beer duty payments, due on 25 April relating to beer produced in March, when pubs were forced to shut down overnight.

According to the BBPA, the Government would not defer beer duty for the whole of the next quarter (April-June).

The BBPA and other trade bodies had called on the Government to defer April’s duty payment and those of the following quarter – totalling £750m – as a matter of urgency to provide vital cashflow support to the UK’s 2,000 brewers who supply the country’s pubs.

 

Financial strain

The BBPA said that if the Government had deferred beer duty payments, it would have better enabled brewers to get back on their feet and ready to resupply pubs after the COVID-19 crisis. Instead, the decision taken would put all brewers under even more financial strain, it claimed.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said:  “The Government’s failure to defer beer duty is a huge blow to pubs and brewers. It will put brewers under even greater financial strain, meaning there is a real risk to their ability to resupply pubs when they can safely re-open after the coronavirus lockdown​.

“The Chancellor had said he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to help, so it’s a shame not to see him put his words into action. Beer is our national drink and a key UK manufacturing industry, while pubs are a key part of our national identity and culture. They need and deserve all the support Government can give them.”

 

Redundancies

Earlier this month, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), conducted a survey of small independent breweries across the UK, which showed that, on average, beer sales were down by 82% since the outbreak of COVID-19, with many businesses struggling to survive. 

Eight out of ten brewers did not believe the Government was doing enough to support them, with more than half (54%) of the UK’s independent breweries being unable to access any Government support. Nearly a third (29%) said they were now considering redundancies.

Related topics: COVID-19

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