07Taking part in a Westminster Hall debate the Scottish National Party’s Owen Thompson told a group of MP’s that raising Beer Duty further would have far reaching consequences across communities, and impact on national, local and micro economies as well as having a knock on effects for pubs and jobs that rely on the industry.

The MP for Midlothian is asking the Chancellor to ease off Beer Duty in tomorrows Budget and to follow Scotland’s lead by introducing measures to support the food and drink industry.

In February this year the SNP Scottish Government announced business rates relief for the hospitality sector, which will save Scottish pubs around £6 million. The package also included a one year cap on business rate increases in Scotland for the hospitality sector, at 12.5 per cent, benefiting 8,000 further businesses.

Speaking in the debate Owen Thompson said:

“Of course businesses should pay their share in tax and this should be fair. But in 2015, beer duty comprised 49 per cent of a brewer’s turnover and the Beer and Pub Association calculate that the beer and pub sector is one of the most highly taxed across the UK economy.”

“With business rates, employment taxes and corporation tax added on top and costs of production taken into account, a brewer on average will make just two to three pence per pint as profit.”

“The Scottish National Party support finding a better, fairer, evidence-based way of taxing alcohol. We need to find the right balance and I very much hope that today’s debate will provide ‘beer’ for thought for the Chancellor ahead of his upcoming Budget.”