Beer and Pub Taxation — [James Gray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:59 pm on 5th February 2020.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington 2:59 pm, 5th February 2020

Absolutely, and there are a number of measures that the Minister can take. Despite the success that we are all very proud of within the craft brewing sector, it accounts for only around 7% of the UK market, compared with the 88% share of the market controlled by the big four global brewers. Small breweries relief has given small brewers the opportunity to compete with their larger multinational counterparts, but they benefit from economies of scale, brand recognition and huge and expensive advertising campaigns on a scale that small brewers simply cannot compete with, and which allow the big four to dominate the market and to offer significant discounts to wholesalers.

The other challenge we face across the country is the shrinking number of outlets that the brewers have for their products, with the number of pubs falling from around 54,000 in 2012 to 46,000 last year. That is a separate debate, and I know we are very short of time, Mr Gray, but I must take the time to criticise the large pub companies and the unfair rents and terms that they offer their tenants, which has contributed to the situation.

Post Brexit, manufacturing and exports will be vital in determining whether the UK will be successful outside the EU. I hope the Minister will take on board the comment made here today. There will be consensus across the House, if he comes up with a suitable formula.