Shepherd Neame statement on the budget

Posted: 21 March 2012

Blog category: News

Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “The Beer Duty Escalator is an economically illiterate policy that is inconsistent with other measures to develop a safer drinking culture in this country.
“The tourism and hospitality sectors are great sources of job creation, particularly for young people. The beer and pub industry employs one million people and are vital parts of the national and rural economy. Yet all these sectors are burdened by excessive taxation, and so investment and job opportunities are restricted.
“The Chancellor stated he cannot stand by policies which fail to raise revenue. However, since 2004 the tax on beer has increased by 54 per cent, resulting in a miserable 10 per cent increase in revenues for HM Treasury. Today our industry faces a further increase of 2 per cent above inflation, which will bring a £1.8 million tax burden upon our business alone.
“Approximately 40 per cent of the price of every pint goes to the Government. This is such a heavy burden that 8,600 pubs have closed in the last eight years.
“The country needs a policy framework that aligns economic needs with social and health objectives. The Government should realise that beer and pubs are part of the solution to a more responsible drinking culture in the UK, not part of the problem.
“Today’s announcement will drive people to drink stronger and cheaper alcohol at home and is an act of fiscal brutality on small, family-run, community businesses which undermines our social and cultural heritage.”