Rooney Anand, chief executive, Greene King

“Our economy is at a crucial turning point, therefore anything that puts more money into the pocket of consumers to stimulate growth is welcomed.

“Greene King has been calling on the Chancellor to cut beer duty in this Budget as it is popular with customers and promotes growth in our sector. It is good to see that after years of increases George Osborne is serious about cutting the burden on the beer and pub sector. This cut, which we will pass onto our hard-working licensees immediately, will facilitate more investment and employment. If this leads to further cuts going forward then it could provide significant help to stem the tide of pub closures.

“We are a business that invests time and money in building a sustainable future. As a large employer within the UK, I am very pleased that the Government shares our view that apprenticeships should support a variety of skill levels. The introduction of degree level apprenticeships is another positive step in helping to tackle youth unemployment and it would be used to good effect within the pub and beer sector. However, I am disappointed that the Chancellor did not extend the National Insurance exemption to under 25s.

“Overall, today’s budget is not a game changer, but it does go some way to addressing some of the issues both within our industry and the wider economy. I am pleased that the Chancellor seems to be listening to the suggestions coming from business in general.”

 

James Armitage, head of marketing, Enterprise Inns

“This reduction in duty will be welcomed by all of our publicans not to mention pub-goers across the country.

“Our pubs play an important role in their local communities particularly in creating jobs amongst young people so it’s good to see that the Chancellor has taken positive steps to recognise this by not only cutting beer duty, but extending the grant for small businesses to support 100,000 more apprenticeships.”

 

John Healy, commercial director, Punch Taverns

“Punch welcomes the Government’s decision to cut the beer duty for the second consecutive year as well as the decision to freeze duty on certain cider products. This is great news for the pub industry and will help protect jobs in communities across the UK. Once we receive the details from the suppliers on all duty changes, we will communicate how we will pass these on in full.”

 

Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers

“We are pleased to see the Chancellor continuing the good work started last year and we welcome the scrapping of the alcohol duty escalator and a penny off a pint for the second consecutive year. Additionally we applaud the steps taken to reduce the cost of living burden and efforts to put more disposable income back into the pockets of families. 

“The licensed hospitality sector provides a good indicator of the levels of recovery in the country and reducing tax burdens on consumers is good news for pubs, clubs and restaurants. An increase in the rate of personal allowance means a boost in disposable incomes and increased spending.  This in turns means more investments in jobs and training and further opportunities for businesses. 

“Extension of apprenticeship grants for small businesses ensures that the eating and drinking out sector can continue to lead the way in apprenticeships. Likewise the doubling of investment allowance and extension of employment allowance gives pubs, clubs and restaurants a chance to continue doing what they are already doing, namely creating jobs and investing in people.

“It is also pleasing to see the Chancellor extending the capital allowance; this will allow licensed hospitality businesses to continue to improve in their infrastructure and permit the continued evolution of our high street offerings.

“This is a good start to encourage growth and prosperity in the sector, particularly among the many small and medium sized enterprises in licensed hospitality but there is still more that can be done.

“In particular, we are looking to see wholesale changes to the business rates regime to address the disproportionate burdens faced by our sector. The Chancellor’s actions today to help businesses are most welcome but there is even more to do to achieve a fairer deal for licensed hospitality.”

 

David Forde, UK managing director, Heineken

“I will be raising a cold pint to the Chancellor tonight, his announcement on cider and beer duty will be cheered at breweries, pubs, bars and living rooms across the UK. By freezing cider duty and again reducing beer duty – he sends a clear message that brewing, cider making and the great British pub are important to the UK’s economy.”

 

Simon Cox, managing director, Molson Coors UK & Ireland

“This duty cut gives a much needed boost to our customers and the brewing industry, securing jobs and saving money for beer drinkers up and down the UK. This, and the scrapping of the duty escalator last year, is a very welcome and vital break, but there is still some way to go as Britons pay an excessive amount in tax on beer compared with Europe.”

 

Bruce Ray, corporate affairs director, Carlsberg UK

“The Chancellor’s announcement today about a 1p cut in beer duty is excellent news and will be welcomed by brewers, publicans and those of us who enjoy a pint of beer down the pub. 

“Last year’s cut led to major investment into the growth and innovation of pubs and breweries – demonstrating their crucial social and economic contribution to the UK, demonstrating what beer can give, rather than take away, from society.

“This year’s cut will lead to continued innovation and investment, create new jobs, and ultimately benefit our beer-loving nation. 

“This is a tremendous achievement secured through cross-industry work, led by our good friend Andrew Griffiths MP.”

 

Andrew Cowan, country director, Diageo Great Britain

“The Chancellor has today given a huge boost to one of Britain’s most successful industries. From Scotch whisky to London Gin, British spirits are admired and enjoyed around the world. In freeing the industry from a debilitating tax policy the Government has given a show of support for these quality products. That will benefit the industry not just at home but also help us as we fly the flag for British business across the world.”

 

Miles Beale, chief executive, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association

“It is great news that our Call Time on Duty campaign has been successful. This will be widely welcomed by consumers and businesses across the UK. The Chancellor’s decision to scrap the alcohol duty escalator a year early and freeze alcohol duty for spirits is fantastic news and will be widely welcomed by consumers and businesses.

“The move will help British pubs, bars, and restaurants up and down the country, and will boost jobs and investment in the great British drinks industry and in the hospitality sector more widely. While we would have liked to have seen a complete freeze on wine duty, the WSTA and our Call Time on Duty campaign partners applauds the Chancellor’s decision to scrap the escalator and will be raising a toast to George Osborne.”

 

Tim Hulme, chief executive, BII

“Today the Chancellor has done something extremely positive for pubs and the tens of thousands of people who rely on them to make a living. Cutting duty for the second year running and freezing cider duty helps keep pub visits affordable for the British public at a time when many are still feeling the post-recessionary pinch. It also means that publicans don’t have to face the impossible task of absorbing extra cost and making cut-backs at a time when they are playing such a vital role in creating new jobs to fuel the fledgling growth we’re seeing in the UK economy. I am really heartened by the Chancellor’s continued support for our industry and the vital role pubs play within their communities.”       

 

Mike Benner, chief executive, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)

“CAMRA is delighted to see the Chancellor implementing an unprecedented second consecutive cut of a penny in beer duty. This is not only about keeping the price of a pint affordable in British pubs but helping an industry which has been in overall decline continue on its long road to recovery. CAMRA cares greatly about the future of the Great British pub and it is clear from this Budget announcement that the Government do too.

“Keeping the price of a pint affordable is vital for the long-term health of the pub sector and CAMRA would hope this latest vote of confidence in British pubs will go some way to slowing the rate of closures, by encouraging more people to make use of their local this summer.

“No doubt many of CAMRA’s 160,000 members will be raising a glass to the Chancellor this evening to toast another brilliant Budget for British beer drinkers.”

 

Julian Grocock, chief executive, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA)

“SIBA applauds the Chancellor’s decision to take another penny off the pint, following last year’s historic decision to scrap the unpopular escalator. It is good to see that this Government believes in providing long-term support for the British brewing and pubs industry.

“SIBA’s Budget submission to the Treasury this year was based on the very positive impact of the 2013 duty cut on the local brewing industry. Our members now feel more confident about the long-term prospects for their breweries, and are investing in them by buying new equipment, recruiting new staff or opening new pubs.

“This evidence of an industry buoyed by the duty cut, which we presented to Government both centrally and locally, through our members’ lobbying of their MPs, is one reason why we have been given what we asked for in this Budget – the ‘same again, please, George.’. We promise to return the Chancellor’s positive response by giving back more of the same from Britain’s local brewers: more investment in breweries, jobs and pubs.

“It is particularly pleasing that, while duty concessions were given to other drinks, only beer, as our national drink, was rewarded with an actual cut in duty. 

“We must also thank Andrew Griffiths MP, whose tireless work on behalf of British beer and brewing ensures that our arguments are heard at the highest level in Government.”

 

David Frost, chief executive, Scotch Whisky Association

“This show of support for distillers from the Coalition Government will be warmly welcomed across the Scotch Whisky industry.

“We are delighted that the Chancellor and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury listened to our case for scrapping the unfair alcohol duty escalator and freezing whisky duty. It is a move that supports hard-pressed consumers, a major manufacturing and export industry and the wider hospitality sector.

“This fairer tax treatment in the UK, the third biggest market for Scotch Whisky, also sends the right signal on excise policy to the governments of the 200 countries to which we export.  So its effects will be felt around the world.”

 

Paul Bartlett, chair of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM)

“It is great news that the Chancellor has abandoned the duty escalator and frozen duty on cider this year in recognition of the important role that cider makers play in their local, rural communities as well as the impact on growers and cider makers from the winter storms and rain.

“This common sense decision will be celebrated by nearly 500 producers across the country as it protects the investment they have made over many years to grow the industry and support the rural community – as well as supporting thousands of jobs.

“As the investment cycle for our industry is measured in decades, we have a critical need for stability on duty and policy and we hope this decision signals a period of sustained support from Government for a great British success story.”

 

Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston

“I’m delighted by the decision to reduce duty for a second year. This is a Chancellor who is clearly listening to us.

“This reduction is a massive boost to our industry and one that will have a positive impact on investment and jobs in the British beer and pubs in the years to come.

“This decision, made after considerable campaigning from many of our members and supporters, has been received very favourably, and I would like to thank the Chancellor on their behalf.

“I am confident this reduction will see the industry increase its economic contribution, both locally and nationally, and help ensure the long-term success of the British brewing industry and our much-loved pubs and clubs.”

 

Nigel Wright, chief operating officer, TCG 

“The Budget is really positive news for the trade. Another reduction in the rate of duty on beer, along with the freeze in cider duty, is particularly good news, especially in a World Cup year. A well-served pint at the pub is an essential accompaniment to meeting friends or watching the match for millions of consumers, and it’s important that it remains an affordable treat.

“The end of the duty escalator on wine and spirits is a welcome move, and all credit goes to the trade bodies that co-ordinated the campaign to persuade the Treasury of its merits.  We’ve invested significantly in both our cocktail range and wine lists over the past year, supported by staff training, and an end to above inflation increases in duty means we can expect to continue to see the benefits in terms of increased sales.”

“The further significant increase in the income tax threshold to £10,500 next year is also a welcome development. Both our customers and our employees will see the benefits of the increase in the threshold to £10,000 in their April pay packets, and the trade can expect to benefit from a significant feelgood factor.”

 

Stephen Owens, director, Christie + Co

“The moves to freeze or lower duties are welcome for both consumers and producers, especially smaller brewers and the Scottish Whisky and West Country cider producing regions.

“In addition, the extra money announced for flood defences, while not able to turn back the clock for the beleaguered regions, is welcome succour for the many pubs by seas and rivers that were affected by the harsh winter. This is especially good news when allied to the freeze on duties on cider, when much of the country’s cider-producing region was underwater.”

“While cuts to energy costs were announced by the Chancellor in the Budget, these seemed to be aimed predominantly at large manufacturing industry or the personal consumer, so it’ll be interesting if there is any great benefit to smaller businesses like pubs.”

 

Phil Orford, chief executive, the Forum of Private Business

“The headlines for business today are on energy policies and export. There are sizeable gains for UK manufacturers here in particular over the next few years. On export the Chancellor has thrown his weight behind getting more businesses exporting. Our membership is confident about growth but much of that growth is UK based so we needed to see such a commitment, though we will continue to work with the Treasury and others to develop even healthier export subsidies for business.

“Overall this was a Budget that offers some help to all levels of business, with perhaps a slight focus on the mid-size energy intensive and manufacturing businesses, rather than the very small ones. However, it does help to tackle the cost of energy and makes good on the commitment trailed before the Budget to support those that look to invest, either in the UK – with a more extensive Annual Investment Allowance – or abroad, with a £3bn export support budget.”

 

David Grant, managing director, Moorhouse’s Brewery 

“The Chancellor’s moves on the escalator for all alcohol and a penny of the price of a pint of beer meant he has listened further to the industry bodies like SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) and recognised the beer and pub industry contribution to employment and the economy.

“I hope he continues to do this and I will raise a beer to him tonight as this is a  move in the right direction to help the industry.

“The 1p a pint cut doesn’t necessarily translate to the price of a pint in a pub, so we shouldn’t expect too much – but it will help to keep costs down for brewers and publicans.

“A fuel duty freeze helps everyone, but will be especially helpful to small companies like Moorhouse’s – helping to contain our costs as we grow our business. And we may even sell more cask ale in bingo halls!

“I assume the help on business rates will apply to pubs and that too is a positive to help pubs survive when they are closing at some twenty a week. We can’t sell cask ale without pubs, so the High Street is important to us.

“Overall the Chancellor has taken some positive measures to help low to middle incomes and manufacturing industry. However, we are still a long way from a ‘feel good factor’ that we need to get people back into pubs on a regular basis.”

 

The British Hospitality Association (BHA)

The BHA said it welcomed some announcements, including:

• Air Passenger Duty branding reform which will make long distance flights cheaper for those returning to the UK

• Added funding for the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16 to 24 year olds which will help to deliver the apprenticeship pledges from the BHA’s flagship Big Hospitality Conversation which, in just its first year, has created over 36,000 opportunities for young people across the United Kingdom.

• Cuts in alcohol duty rates which show the government understands the importance of pubs as a community asset

• The doubling of Annual Investment Allowance to £500,000 until the end of next year was welcomed but the BHA proposes that business planning – especially for SMEs - needs longer timelines and that the Annual Investment Allowance should be extended at least until the end of 2016. 

BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “The UK hospitality and tourism industry is operating in the most fiercely competitive international market and we need to be looking outwardly and creating financial policies which allow us to better compete with countries who are already acknowledging this like France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Today’s Spring Statement showed some small signs of recognition from the Chancellor on issues like APD, the Apprenticeship Grant and the Annual Investment Allowance, which the BHA welcomes, but there are other more lucrative ways to increase our competitiveness as a nation, for example by funding more improvements to obtaining tourist and business visas and the reduction of tourism VAT.”

Martin Couchman, deputy CEO of the BHA also pointed to missed policy opportunities for example not including hotels in the Enterprise Investment Scheme. He said: “Hospitality businesses should be brought back into the Enterprise Investment Scheme to help secure necessary funding for refurbishment of the premises.

“Some of our smaller regional members have told us they have found it difficult to secure bank finance, with the result that necessary refurbishment and improvement of premises cannot take place. Another driver of growth which our members would have liked to see is a cut in employer’s NI to create more employment opportunities.”

 

Paul Bartlett, chairman, National Association of Cider Makers (NACM)

“It is great news that the Chancellor has abandoned the duty escalator and frozen duty on cider this year in recognition of the important role that cider makers play in their local, rural communities as well as the impact on growers and cider makers from the winter storms and rain.

“Responsible drinkers will be able to enjoy British cider as the cycle of continual above inflation increases is now broken.

“This common sense decision will be celebrated by nearly 500 producers across the country as it protects the investment they have made over many years to grow the industry and support the rural community – as well as supporting thousands of jobs.

“As the investment cycle for our industry is measured in decades, we have a critical need for stability on duty and policy and we hope this decision signals a period of sustained support from Government for a great British success story.

“We are pleased that drinkers generally will benefit with the reduction in duty on beer – combined with the freeze on cider duty – this represents modest support for pubs which have struggled in recent years. This is to be commended as pubs play an important role in communities and support significant employment.

“Many cider makers have and will to continue to invest significantly in their businesses, hence the announcement on the Annual Investment Allowance is welcomed, as is the support UK manufacturers seeking to export.

“UK cider makers account for over half of all cider produced in the world and British businesses are very active seeking to grow export markets, so this might present a terrific opportuntity for producers and the UK economy.”

 

Gordon Johncox, managing director, Aston Manor Cider

“At Aston Manor we are very happy to toast George Osborne this evening with a delicious glass of Kingstone Press cider.

“It is great news that the Chancellor has decided to freeze the duty on cider so that responsible drinkers are able to enjoy quality cider now the cycle of continual above inflation increases is broken.

“This common sense decision sustains our confidence that we can deliver further growth in the business with the ambitious investment plans we have – plans that have already transformed Aston Manor Cider in the last few years.

“Our investment cycle is measured in decades, hence we have a critical need for stability on duty and policy and we hope this decision signals a period of sustained support from Government for a great British success story, and Aston Manor wants to play a full part in that.”

Investment and export priorities

“Having been on the largest ever UK trade delegation last December, I know first-hand of David Cameron’s wish to increase manufacturing and export opportunities for British businesses – with the plans announced today it looks like the Government intends to deliver on that in terms of supporting businesses that want to invest and also export.

“Further significant investment in our business and prioritising export markets is vital for Aston Manor, so we are delighted to hear George Osborne’s speech today – we will look to squeeze every ounce of opportunity out of what has been promised to support the development of our business.”

 

Daniel Lyons, partner for indirect taxes, Deloitte

“Cheers will ring out across British pubs today as beer duty is cut by one pence. This brings the duty on a pint down by eight pence over this government’s term, compared to what had been previously planned. We also heard that the alcohol escalator will be abolished and there will be a freeze for all spirits. Pubs play an important role providing jobs across the country and many of these will be protected following today’s announcements. The West Country, in particular where cider producers have been impacted by the floods, will welcome the duty freeze on cider. It would appear that after the rain, comes the freeze.”