Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about beer duty and showing support for pubs. I know that this important issue will be of concern to many people across the UK and in Lewisham Deptford.
Pubs are often at the heart of the UK’s communities, with 30 million adults going to the pub each month. Pubs also play an important role in our national economy as the pub sector supports 900,000 jobs and provide £13 billion in tax revenues. I appreciate that pubs continue to be under severe threat, and I agree that we must do what we can to support them.
In the 2018 Budget the Chancellor confirmed that duty rates on beer, cider and spirits would remain frozen. I know that this announcement was welcomed by many stakeholders in the pub sector, including the Long Live the Local campaign. The Government has said there is no suggestion that freezes in duties on beer, spirits or cider will necessarily continue in future Budgets. The Government has also indicated that future duty decisions will be considered on their own merit and informed by a number of factors, such as protecting pubs, public health, and growing regional economies.
I believe that the current system for alcohol duties is not clear and the way we tax alcohol does not necessarily correct its’ social costs. I agree with many of you that the Government should look at the whole framework for alcohol duties.
In the 2017 election I stood on a manifesto that committed to set up a national review of local pubs to examine the causes for their decline, as well as establishing a joint taskforce that will consider their future sustainability. I also pledged to give communities more power to shape their town centres, including by strengthening powers to protect pubs.