Pubs call for beer duty freeze to protect jobs

Landlord of the Taproom Chris Berry.
Landlord of the Taproom Chris Berry.

Publicans in Kirklees are calling on parliament to stop George Osborne raising duty on beer in next month’s budget.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said another tax hike would be passed onto drinkers at a time when the industry was under pressure from supermarket discounts.

A report by the BBPA looked at the performance of the beer industry during 2012 and showed it was a significant contributor to the economy in Kirklees.

Measuring the contribution of a single producer, the gross value added (GVA) figure of pubs and breweries in Batley and Spen was £20m.

The report also revealed the GVA figure for pubs and breweries in Dewsbury was £20.7m in 2012.

According to the Oxford Economics data, there are three breweries and 111 pubs in Batley, Spen and Dewsbury.

Nationally, the BBPA said 900,000 jobs depended on British beer and pubs.

The group claimed that duty rises were a threat to jobs, wages and the economy and the government should freeze beer duty in this year’s budget.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds OBE said: “Beer and pubs provide huge numbers of local jobs, especially for young people.

“Last year’s duty cut made a real difference, saving jobs across the country, boosting investment and increasing confidence. Yet, so much of this good work will be undone if beer duty rises again.”

Chris Berry, landlord of the Taproom, in Batley, said: “I absolutely back the freeze and would say our pub has helped strengthen the town centre.

“Poor old Batley has taken a beating over the years but in our two years of trading, we have helped people get used to the idea of going out again.”