Thank you for your email regarding support for our hospitality sector.
For many years I have felt that the level of beer duty is too onerous for our pubs. This has created an unfair competitive advantage for alcohol sales through supermarkets and other retail outlets, with long term consequences for socialisation, a sense of community as well as potentially serious concerns for excessive drinking at home.
In tackling the spread of COVID, few sectors have been called on more for sacrifice than our hospitality venues and their supply chains. Many of these businesses are small and lack the resources to fall back upon for such an extended period of closure. Government schemes of support have, to be fair, been well beyond initial expectations, but we need the Chancellor now to look again at those who are being called on to bear the greatest economic burden.
The Chancellor should look to extend the business rates relief programme and the reduced VAT rate for the hospitality sector. This is vital to enable businesses to rebuild their cash reserves during the Summer months and to help provide confidence to their lenders regarding their viability.
I strongly support the reduction in beer duty - and not just as a temporary measure but as a permanent reduction. The 25% cut that is being called for by some campaigners is a welcome move, but should be seen as only a start in rebalancing the pricing of alcohol so that pubs can compete fairly with supermarkets.
I not only support a cut in Beer Duty but I have lobbied the Chancellor to make the further changes set out above.
Thank you for getting in contact.
Richard Fuller MP