More than 100 Conservative MPs have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to support pubs cutting beer duty for draught pints.
In a letter to Sunak, the MPs called for the government not to increase alcohol duties in next week’s budget and to cut the tax on draught sales to help pubs compete with supermarkets.
Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith and ex-Cabinet ministers Alun Cains and Karen Bradley are among the lawmakers who have signed the letter.
Richard Holden, a Tory MP who orchestrated the campaign, said British pubs are “the heart and soul of our communities,” but government support for them has not been sufficient during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
“The support given to pubs through furlough and grants throughout the global pandemic has been great, but there is no denying that the hospitality sector has been hit harder than any other by the pandemic,” he said.
Holden said a cut in draught beer duty will “not only significantly bolster our much-loved pubs across our towns and villages, but also have great knock-on effects for British agriculture and employment, especially for young people in our hospitality sector.”
The hospitality industry has been calling for more government support to enable them to compete with supermarkets, which have gained a significant amount of trade from pubs and restaurants as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Earlier this month, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which represents 170,000 pub goers and beer drinkers, urged the chancellor to use his budget to introduce a lower rate of beer duty where it is served on draught in places like pubs and social clubs.
“This would help pubs to compete with supermarkets, be a boost to local economies and job markets, and encourage responsible drinking in the regulated environment of the local pub,” said CAMRA chairman Nik Antona.
Even before the pandemic, there were calls for supermarkets to be taxed more for alcohol sales.
In September 2019, the Social Market Foundation (SMF) think tank proposed a “pub relief,” which would make drinking at home less affordable and support the pub sector.
The SMF said the government should shift taxation towards high-strength drinks bought for consumption at home, and away from weaker products bought in pubs.
The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), which commissioned the research, said it would help to cut problem drinking.
PA contributed to this report.