The Budget – A response from SIBA chairman Keith Bott

Posted on 03/21/12 No Comments

SIBA slams ‘anti-beer, anti-pub’ Budget

The increase in beer duty announced in today’s Budget is ‘anti-beer, anti-pub’, says the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and a missed opportunity to protect pubs from closure, create thousands of jobs and encourage responsible alcohol consumption.

SIBA chairman Keith Bott said, “This is not a Budget from a Government which claims, as does this one, to be supportive of pubs as places that encourage social cohesion and responsible alcohol consumption. Once again, we see a disconnect between what our policymakers say about beer and pubs and what they do – which is to impose further, punishing taxes on an industry that is already on its knees.”

Bott also berated the Treasury for failing to take any meaningful steps towards alcohol taxation reform. Beer duty has increased by 35% over the last five years, putting it at a distinct disadvantage to spirits, wine and cider. He said, “Brewers are happy to pay their fair share, but not the unfair share we are currently required to contribute. We’re particularly disappointed by the preferential treatment given again today to cidermakers, which results in the largest global producers paying less duty than the smallest UK microbrewers.”

He continued, “Today’s announcements are frustrating for all involved in beer and pubs, and especially for SIBA, who have shown the Government the positive results of investment, in the form of Small Breweries’ Relief. Yet they refuse to apply the same logic to pubs which, with similar investment, could make a similar, valuable contribution to the local and wider UK economy.

“If the Government is serious about wanting a society where pubs continue to play a vital role at the heart of their community, and where beer is once again seen as our national drink, then they must take steps to rebalance excise duties in favour of both.”

Keith Bott, SIBA chairman