Raising duty will devastate UK pubs says CAMRA
Beer lobby group CAMRA warns higher tax levies on alcohol will devastate UK pubs following a report claiming that raising alcohol taxes by 10% would benefit the UK economy.
The study, published in July by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) and the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), claims that higher alcohol taxes would lead to an increase in both national income and employment, provided the additional revenue is invested in public services.
Using a sector-by-sector model of the economy, the researchers estimated the effects of a 10% increase in alcohol tax, with the government using the proceeds to increase spending on public services, finding that:
- The higher rate of duty would raise an extra £789 million for the Treasury
- UK GDP would rise by £847 million
- There would be over 17,000 more full-time equivalent jobs
But CAMRA’s National Chairman Nik Antona said: “The Institute of Alcohol Studies is applying a broad-brush strategy to a complex situation. Yes, supermarket beer is significantly more affordable today than it was in 1987, but the price of a pint within a pub has continued to rise.
“Calling for a 10% higher tax on alcohol products will not only impact on cheap supermarket beers, but it will also devastate the pubs industry, which is already over-burdened by VAT, beer duty and business rates. Over a third of the cost of a pint in a pub is made up by taxes, which is incomparable to beer sold in supermarkets that are able to under-sell the product and absorb additional taxes.
“If you really want to benefit society, then supermarkets should be asked to pay a higher rate of tax on alcohol than pubs. This would not only help support the pubs trade but also support the public health message that enjoying a pint in moderation in a supervised and social environment is better than chugging cheap cans at home.”
Report co-author Peter McGregor, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, claimed:
“For an increase in alcohol duties we find evidence of a net positive effect on both value-added and employment in addition to improved health outcomes, indicating that here there is no trade-off between the two: indeed, there is potential for a “double dividend” of a simultaneous improvement in health and a stimulus to the UK economy.”
UKHospitality welcomes review of England’s food
UKHospitality has welcomed the Government’s announcement of an independent review into England’s food industry.
The review, led by Henry Dimbleby of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and co-founder of Leon, will investigate the entirety of England’s food system from farm to fork.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The UK’s food industry is one our greatest assets. Across the sector we see huge amounts of variety as well as ingenuity. With the country’s food and hospitality sectors so intimately linked, it is absolutely vital to the ongoing success of hospitality that the food industry is supported.
“Henry has fantastic knowledge of the hospitality sector and understands its relationship with food and the need for a dynamic and supportive food industry.
“We welcome this review of the food industry and what we hope is the beginnings of a fully integrated and joined-up strategy that supports businesses at every step of the way from farm to fork.”
Dimbleby is co-founder of both restaurant chain Leon and the Sustainable Restaurant Association and is leading the first major review of the UK food system in nearly 75 years.
He will investigate the entire food system, from field to fork, and consider what changes are needed to ensure that it:
- Delivers safe, healthy, affordable food, regardless of where people live or how much they earn;
- Is robust in the face of future shocks;
- Restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation;
- Is built upon a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector;
- Is a thriving contributor to our urban and rural economies, delivering well paid jobs and supporting innovative producers and manufacturers;
- Does all of this in an efficient and cost-effective way.
- His recommendations will result in a trailblazing new National Food Strategy, set to be published in 2020.