Loughborough has 80 pubs and two breweries—I declare an interest, because my son works in one of them. In my maiden speech I referred to reducing business rates for pubs, which I am very keen to do. I am also keen to support the campaigns to cut duty on draught beer. There is an old-fashioned premise that a pub should be a cash cow for the Treasury, but the choice of cheap alternatives is now vast, and the impact of the loss of a pub on the local community is huge. That pub is often a community centre, a club headquarters, a friendly society or a meeting place that also just happens to sell beer. We need to save those local facilities.
I welcome the Government’s review of small breweries relief. My constituent Andrew Reed, who founded the Charnwood Brewery, emailed to inform me that the brewery is a small family business that supplies pubs and restaurants in a 15-mile radius. Although it does not enjoy the economy of scale of other brewers in the area, and its annual turnover is below £1 million, it still contributes £300,000 to the Exchequer. He says that losing the relief would have an impact: how could the brewery compete in the local market against national and international brewers?