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Beer Duty

Volume 574: debated on Tuesday 28 January 2014

9. What assessment has he made of the effect on the brewing industry of the reduction in beer duty announced in the 2013 Budget. (902216)

The Government reduced the tax on a typical pint of beer in the Budget 2013, and ended the beer duty escalator. A British Beer and Pub Association survey suggests that 76% of its members have increased investment, and 61% are employing more staff following the beer duty changes.

On Friday I will open a new bottling plant at Marston’s brewery in my constituency—a £7 million investment made possible because of the Chancellor’s decision to cut beer duty. In the past six months, beer sales have gone up for the first time in 10 years, and 120 million extra pints have been sold. Does the Minister agree that the Chancellor was right to cut beer duty to get growth, and can we have the same again please, George?

I thank my hon. Friend very much indeed. He ran a magnificent campaign before the Budget last year in representing Burton, which I understand is the home of British brewing. By ending the beer duty escalator at Budget 2013, it is already assumed in the public finances that beer duty will rise by less than other alcohol duties this year. Pubs and brewers will also benefit from other actions that we have taken to support businesses, including support with business rates and ending employer national insurance contributions for those under 21, but I hear what my hon. Friend says.

Knowing that the Government would always wish to recognise and celebrate cultural diversity, will the Minister ensure that anything done for beer is also done for cider?

I hear the hon. Gentleman’s request. I am sure he is aware that in the 2010 Budget the Government reversed the previous Government’s 10% above-inflation rise on cider duties, and as he will know, the Treasury keeps all duties under review.