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Brewers joint bid to see alcohol duty Budget help

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 18, 2014

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A BURTON-based brewing giant is leading the calls for the industry to be given a boost as part of today’s Budget announcement.

Early predictions have said that there looks set to be a two per cent more than inflation rise in alcohol duty despite pleas by MPs, brewing bosses and licensees hopes to see a repeat in the historic move to slash 1p off beer duty 12 months ago - the first cut in 54 years.

Last year also saw the scrapping of the much derided beer duty escalator, which helped created thousands of jobs in the industry and bring about renewed confidence in its future.

Simon Cox, managing director of Molson Coors UK & Ireland, spoke to the Mail about the need for further help during today’s budget.

He said: ““It’s encouraging to see the continued strong support among MP’s in promoting a freeze in beer tax prior to the Budget.

“The scrapping of the duty escalator last year was a very welcome and vital respite, but did not address the fact that Britons still pay an excessive amount in tax on beer compared with Europe.

“A duty freeze, which excludes an inflationary rise, would give a much needed boost to the pub and brewing industry, securing jobs and saving money for beer drinkers up and down the UK.”

Richard Matthews, regional secretary for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), said: “What we’re asking for this year is more of the same. The removal of the escalator and duty cut secured 10,000 jobs in the industry and has given companies confidence to invest.”

Marston’s managing director Richard Westwood said: “The removal of the beer duty escalator and 1p cut in duty by the Chancellor George Osbourne last year has been a boost at both pub and brewery level and has undoubtedly stimulated growth across the sector.

“At Marston’s this has helped us to invest – with £7.4m alone being invested in packaging facility at the Burton brewery – which has led to more business for suppliers to the sector and new jobs.”

The Budget is also set to see personal income tax allowance go up in April from £9,440 to £10,000, VAT rises for people who buy things online and ISA allowances rise.

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