Beer Taxation and Pubs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:39 pm on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Mike Wood Mike Wood Conservative, Dudley South 1:39 pm, 28th March 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I know that my hon. Friend Peter Aldous would also agree, with St Peter’s being a major advocate of this argument as well. The European Union, within its beer duty framework, is in the process of changing those thresholds. I would hope that the Treasury, regardless of what form of Brexit we end up with, will make sure that, at the very least, we follow the mechanisms that are already in place, amending the threshold for low-alcohol beers to one where it is rather more viable for brewers to produce at that strength. Encouraging people to go down from over 4% to around 3% is better for their health, and if we can make sure that it is fiscally better for the brewer as well, then so much the better.

As CAMRA has made clear, one of the opportunities as we leave the European Union—we know from last night’s discussion that there is an element of disagreement as to what should happen next—is that we are able to take back control of our excise duty regime. This gives the Chancellor an opportunity to look afresh at how we tax beer in pubs, in particular—how we can use fiscal measures to help pubs to thrive, to support responsible drinking, and to redress the competitive disadvantage that our community pubs have as against, in particular, supermarkets that are able to stack drinks high, sell them below cost, and use them a loss-leader.