Pub goers spend 54p in duty per pint in Britain while in Spain and Germany, it’s less than 5p

  • Over 80 heads of Britain’s leading beer and pub groups signed the letter
  • The letter is timed to coincide with the European Football Championships

Britain’s biggest brewers and pub firms are calling to reduce beer duty and reform business rates.

More than 80 heads of the UK’s leading beer and pub companies have signed a letter written by the British Beer and Pub Association’s chief executive, Emma McClarkin, saying their industry ‘needs fair recognition of its unique value.’

Among the signatories are the chairmen of Adnams and Harvey’s breweries and the CEOs of Fuller’s, Punch Pubs, JD Wetherspoon, and Stonegate Group.

Call for change: More than 80 heads of the UK’s leading beer and pub companies have signed a letter saying their industry ‘needs fair recognition of its unique value’

The letter is addressed to the UK’s three main political party leaders and is timed to coincide with the start of the European Football Championships.

It noted that English and Scottish football fans will be spending 54p in duty for every pint they buy during the tournament, while those in Spain and Germany will pay under 5p.

‘Our sector is among the highest taxed sectors in the economy,’ remarked McClarkin, who cited BBPA research claiming that £1 in every £3 spent in pubs goes to HM Treasury.

‘The upcoming Euros Championships brings into sharp focus the extent to which beer remains over-taxed,’ she added.

Combined with high energy bills and other costs, the letter said that publicans will earn just 12p of profit on an average £4.80 pint in the UK.

In addition, it implored the government to implement ‘urgent radical reform’ to the business rates system because pubs pay up to four times the level of equivalent firms.

McClarkin said the 75 per cent rates relief for hospitality venues in England was ‘a lifeline without which many more pubs would close.’

The scheme is set to run until April 2025, having been extended by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt in last year’s autumn statement.

Recent data from chartered accountancy Price Bailey showed 769 pub businesses entered insolvency in 2023, the highest number in a decade and around 250 more than the prior year.

Pubs, bars and restaurants have endured a difficult time over the past four years due to Covid-related restrictions forcing them to temporarily close their doors or limit opening hours and capacity levels.

When pandemic curbs ended, their trade became heavily impacted by soaring food, gas and electricity bills, consumer cost-of-living pressures, and industrial action by railway workers.

McClarkin said the pub industry needed ‘a step change…to secure its future and to promote and celebrate such an intrinsic part of British life that brings combined economic, social, and cultural value to almost every community around the country.’

‘The beer and pub sector is special, but it does not need special favours – it needs fair recognition of its unique value.’