Posted: Mon 10th Feb 2020

Alyn & Deeside MP says he is disappointed by England-centric response to beer tax plea

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Feb 10th, 2020

The UK Government’s response to a plea to support pubs is inadequate and irrelevant, an MP has said.

Last month Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami wrote to Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid calling on him to support pubs.

As beer duty in the UK is the highest in Europe, Mr Tami asked the Chancellor to consider introducing a preferential rate of beer duty for pubs relative to supermarkets and off-licenses in order to help pubs survive.

He also asked for the Chancellor’s views on the Welsh Government’s High Street and Retail Rates Relief scheme’s success in supporting pubs.

Now Mr Tami says the response received from Exchequer Secretary Simon Clarke is disappointing. 

“Mr Clarke pointed out how cuts and freezes to beer duty since 2013 had put money into the pockets of small landlords that would otherwise have gone to the treasury,” said Mr Tami. 

“While this is welcome, much of the letter focused on business rates retail discount schemes that only apply in England and are irrelevant to my constituents. 

“The Labour Welsh Government’s enhanced High Street and Retail Rates Relief scheme already provides support in this regard.

“No commitment was given to my request to consider introducing a preferential rate of beer duty for pubs to help them thrive.

While beer duty for pubs remains higher in the UK than in any other European country, there’s much more that the UK Conservative Government can do to back our locals.”

Earlier this year, the Welsh government announced the extension of its high street and retail rates relief scheme for 2020-21, providing support for businesses in Wales with a rateable value of up to £50,000. 

The scheme will provide support to more than 15,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 2020-21.

Mark Tami MP was given a Beer Champion 2019 award by the Long Live The Local Campaign last year for his work on highlighting the plight of pubs.

He added: “The pub trade provides significant employment in Flintshire and across the UK, but is one of the most heavily taxed industries.

“While the number of pub closures seems to be slowing, it does seem that small independent locals are continuing to shut while there has been growth among large chain pubs.

The UK Government must do everything it can to reverse the decline of the local pub.”           

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