A coalition of industry trade groups has written to both Tory leadership contenders with a hit list of measures it said would support brewers, pubs and other hospitality operators.
The British Beer & Pub Association, Campaign For Real Ale, UK Hospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, the Society of Independent Brewers and Pub is the Hub, highlighted the economic value and social importance of brewing, pubs and hospitality in their letters to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.
The respective chief executives called for “at least” a freeze on beer duty for the rest of the Parliament; an “urgent” review of business rates with the aim or reducing the burden on high-street businesses; and short-term business rates support at the 2019 Budget for pub and hospitality businesses of all sizes to alleviate the immediate threats and promote investment.
Brigid Simmonds, Tom Stainer, Kate Nicholls, Mike Clist, James Calder and John Longden, also urged Johnson and Hunt to review the VAT and excise duty systems post Brexit to promote out-of-home consumption; ensure tariff-free trade on food and drink with the European Union to promote beer exports and keep the cost of food down for UK consumers; and establish a post Brexit immigration system that ensured pubs and brewers could access the staff then needed to succeed and grow.
Their final request was that whoever became Conservative leader and Prime Minister should support the recently announced Tourism Sector deal.
“Pubs and brewing support 900,000 jobs in towns and communities throughout the UK and contribute £23 billion to the UK economy. One in 14 young adults currently in employment, work in our sector and the sector generates nearly £13bn in tax revenues for the Exchequer.
“At a time of uncertainty, division and change, Britain’s pubs remain a force for good and have a unique role to play. They are at the centre of Britain’s socio-economic make up, bringing our diverse communities together and enhancing Britain’s reputation abroad. They are among the top three places to visit for tourists coming to the UK,” they wrote.
The six chief executives offered to meet with the candidates to discuss any of the issues raised in more detail and to organise meetings “in suitable venues” if they wished to engage with brewers, pub businesses, licensees and consumers”
Simmonds, commenting on the measures in the letter, said pubs were the original social network, at the heart of their communities and important to international and domestic tourists. The number of pubs in the UK was falling and they needed support now more than ever.
“We have set out a range of measures which both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt could follow to help our sector, and our door remains open for their engagement now and after the election result is announced,” Simmonds said.