Small Breweries Relief

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:30 pm on 9th November 2020.

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Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary 9:30 pm, 9th November 2020

That point would be valid if it were proved that every single business was going to be negatively affected. If hon. Members let me get to the point, they will see that that is not actually the case. My officials could probably give me enough material to talk about this issue alone for an hour. However, I will summarise and make the key points. All the evidence points to the fact that small breweries relief does not match industry production costs. Economies of scale in brewing are rather gradual and do not match the all-or-nothing approach adopted by the current scheme. In fact, some of the evidence suggests that there is a growth trap, whereby brewers in a certain range enjoy lower production costs than brewers many times their size as a result of small breweries relief. This is not healthy for any industry.

The amount spent on the scheme has grown rapidly, from £15 million in 2002 to over £65 million in 2019, despite the fact that beer volumes were down over 30% during this period. We owe it to taxpayers to make sure that these growing sums are being used in the most effective way.