Budget 2023: CAMRA welcomes draught duty cut but warns 'communities will lose local pubs' due to energy bills
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The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has given its response to the Spring Budget. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt gave his statement yesterday (March 15), including in it help for pubs.
Amongst the announcements was the increase to the draught duty rate discount to 11p, welcome news to landlords. The change means pubs will be able to better compete with supermarkets when it comes to the price of alcohol.
However, CAMRA has raised concern over the lack of energy bill support for pubs. The decision to not extend support past April 1 will see communities “lose pubs and social clubs” according to the campaigners.
Responding to the Budget, CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said: “The Chancellor has made a welcome move to increase the draught duty rate discount to 11p, which will help pubs compete with the likes of supermarket alcohol. However, the lower tax rate is not coming until August, and we must hope that as many pubs as possible will be able to keep their doors open until then.
“With many parts of the licensed trade struggling to make ends meet, and consumers tightening their belts, hikes in general duty rates are the last thing breweries need, so it’s right that general duty rates have been frozen until the new system is introduced.
“With support for energy bills being extended for households, licensees will be devastated to hear that help for them will end on 1 April. This was a make-or-break Budget for pubs and social clubs, and the future of many businesses is now at risk, with an imminent cliff edge in support and rocketing energy costs on top of the other pressures facing the licensed trade. Communities will lose their local pubs because energy support is ending.
“It is also bitterly disappointing not to see the extension of help for pubs and breweries with the burden of business rates. With current support schemes due to end in 2024, these rates bills can be the difference between continuing to trade or having to close for good. The Government urgently needs to reform the whole business rates system to fix the issues with this unfair system and help to protect our pubs.”