I congratulate Mike Wood on securing the debate. There will be a huge level of excitement and enthusiasm across the publicans’ world when they see the number of Members of Parliament who are showing their support for the industry. Many important points have been made about the overall burden of taxation, the inequities of the business tax regime, and the importance of making sure that small breweries relief continues to work and acts as an incentive for those brewers to grow into new areas.
It is also important that we continue to put pressure on the Government regarding beer duty. A lot has been said about the beer duty escalator introduced in 2008, but we should remember that it remained in place for three years under a Conservative Government. They milked that cow very well until 2013, and the level of duty paid on beer is actually more now than it was in 2010. However, whichever side of that argument Members are on, a message is being sent loud and clear right across the political divide that there needs to be a reduction in beer duty.
Finally, we sometimes overlook the role that taxation plays in damping down investment in the production of goods that can be exported around the world. We export huge amounts of whisky, gin and other spirits, and British alcohol producers are also tremendous innovators in many ways, including by creating products such as the ready-to-drink beverages that are manufactured in my constituency by companies such as Global Brands. If the Government listen to what has been said today, that will make a real difference to our industry.