I, too, wish to speak about how small breweries are taxed. Unlike pubs, which are closing, small breweries have experienced amazing growth over the past 20 years; there were 400 in 2002, but now there are over 2,000. As we have heard, every constituency seems to have one, and Hampshire has 35. However, that growth has stalled, and I believe that the Government can help.
I look forward to the review of small breweries relief. That relief is vital but, as we have heard, it tapers away at over 5,000 hectolitres. A brewery that doubles its production from 5,000 to 10,000 hectolitres might incur a 250% increase in duty. This Friday I will be visiting The Flower Pots in Cheriton, a Meon Valley brewery, which has told me that this punitive tax tapering means it is unable to expand. Small brewers everywhere face the same problem. This well-intentioned tax regime benefits small breweries, but it can also hamper their growth. Relaxing the taper rate could result in more production and employment, leading to higher tax receipts in the long run. I hope that the Government will consider giving small breweries that much-needed shot in the arm in this year’s Budget.