The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Rishi Sunak’s decision not to cancel March’s beer duty ‘extremely disappointing.’ The Chancellor’s decision came in spite of pleas for the Treasury to suspend duty payments in light of collapsed sales because of coronavirus.
The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) had been lobbying the Chancellor to cancel duty payments due to be debited from bank accounts today to help smaller players deal with the disruption brought by the pandemic.
BBPA Chief executive Emma McClarkin said, “We urged the chancellor to cancel the imminent Beer Duty bill to allow businesses to use funds to invest in their survival. The decision not to act is extremely disappointing. Make no mistake, this is a huge blow to Britain’s world-class brewing industry that has been devastated in the past week.
“Cancelling the duty payment due on 25 March would have freed up cash for many hard-squeezed pub and brewing businesses, helping them get through this difficult period while saving jobs. Brewers are being encouraged to phone the HMRC helpline if they have concerns over paying their duty bill but, with answer rates on the helpline so low, it’s a lottery as to those who get through and receive the additional support they need at this time.”