Beer Taxation and Pubs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:37 pm on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Adrian Bailey Adrian Bailey Labour/Co-operative, West Bromwich West 2:37 pm, 28th March 2019

I congratulate Mike Wood, my near neighbour, on securing this debate. He mentioned Baynhams beer, of which I am a regular consumer and supporter, and Ma Pardoes pub, where I am a regular visitor. In fairness to all the other Black Country beers and drinking place, I must say that it is a fantastic area for anyone who loves their beer. The sheer range of craft and real ales there is phenomenal.

I particularly welcome the debate because it is framed in the context of the taxation regime for pubs. We need a change in that regime, but that alone will not protect our pubs and their heritage unless it is allied with a change in the supervisory and regulatory relationship between pub tenants and pub-owning businesses.

Let me touch first on the tax regime, although Members have covered most of this. There is obviously a case for looking at alcohol duties. The fact that high-alcohol beers and ciders are taxed at hugely different rates is in itself a reason for looking at them. The fact that high-alcohol spirits are taxed at a lower rate is another reason for looking at them. Ultimately, it is the job of the Treasury to have a comprehensive review of these duties. That should be designed first to promote social drinking, secondly to sustain pubs and lastly to sustain Exchequer revenues.