Rishi Sunak discusses the Spring Budget
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The hospitality industry is calling for action from the Chancellor ahead of his Budget on March 3 to help the revival of great British pubs after lockdown. Coronavirus restrictions since the start of the pandemic have cost £7.8billion in beer sales according to the Long Live The Local campaign.
As many as 2,000 pubs closed for good in 2020 as a result of Covid and there are fears many more will be forced to shut their doors this year unless action is taken.
Rishi Sunak is being urged to cut beer duty after lockdown to help keep pub doors open.
On average, £1 in every £3 spent in the pub already goes straight to the taxman.
Brits pay 54p in beer duty for every pint of five percent ABV – three times higher than the average across the EU.
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In Spain, drinkers pay just 5p in tax on the same drink.
Last year the Chancellor froze beer duty, but he is now being urged to go further.
David Cunningham, Programme Director of Long Live The Local, said: “While a freeze in beer duty was welcomed in March 2020, pubs and brewers have faced a year of lockdowns and severe trading restrictions.
“The Chancellor must recognise the plight facing pubs and brewers and give them the cut for which they, and so many people, have been asking for three years – it’s never been more needed.
“Without support from Government, we’re at real risk of losing thousands more pubs from our villages, towns and cities.”
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer & Pub Association added: “We appreciate all the Chancellor has provided the beer and pub industry throughout the pandemic, but the job is far from over.
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“A cut in beer duty will give our publicans and brewers an opportunity to reduce mounting costs, allowing them to survive and thrive when they are able to open again.”
The campaign is also being backed by supermodel Jodie Kidd who owns The Half Moon pub in Kirdford, West Sussex.
She said pubs were facing a “dire” situation and risked not surviving unless Mr Suank takes action.
She said: “Following a year of lockdowns, severe trading restrictions and huge uncertainty, almost 2,000 pubs closed their doors for good – that’s five local pubs every day – gone forever.
“We must do everything we can to protect others from the same fate.”
The Chancellor is looking at ways to help the UK economy recover from its worst economic performance since 1709.
However, while looking to help Britain bounce back from the pandemic, Mr Sunak also faces the challenge of trying to bring down the deficit.
At the end of December, the deficit hit £2.1trillion, the highest debt ratio since 1962.
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