Pubs and breweries are historic partners at the heart of villages, towns and cities across the UK. Together they are one of our most traditional industries, yet at the same time one of the most modern and exciting. Pubs are at the heart of our culture, where friends, families and neighbours come together, and where the next Ed Sheeran or Emeli Sandé is taking their first step towards superstardom. The UK’s brewers are at the forefront of a brewing revolution that has seen an explosion of beers on the market, new low and no alcohol beers, innovative flavour combinations as well as a resurgence and reinvention of traditional styles.
Most of us recognise that pubs and brewing are essential to our economy, to our social lives, and to our communities, yet over the past twenty five years taxes have increased to the point where pubs and breweries find themselves overtaxed and under genuine pressure.
Things need to change, and that is what Long Live The Local is asking for. We are asking for investment to allow pubs and breweries to grow. In return, through sector growth we will create stronger and more connected communities, local investment, jobs and a thriving industry to be proud of.
Long Live The Local is campaigning for the reform of three taxes:
- A permanent lower level of VAT for all food and beverages sold in pubs
- An overall reduction in Beer Duty
- Lower business rates for pubs equitable to other similar businesses
VAT is a tax which is added to most goods in the UK and has a flat rate of 20%. Pubs, along with other licensed venues such as restaurants & bars, have to pay VAT on all food and drink they sell. This is not consistent with other food outlets such as supermarkets, convenience stores and takeaways (including cafes) where VAT is not charged on most food products.
Beer Duty is a tax paid when producing and selling beer, and is calculated based on the strength of the alcohol. Beer Duty has increased by 60% over the last 20 years and now the UK has one of the highest rates of duty in Europe. Beer Duty increases are written into the Budget by default, meaning Beer Duty is set to rise every year for the foreseeable future.
Business rates are taxes paid on non-residential properties such as shops, offices, factories, and pubs. Rates are generally calculated based on a property’s rental value, however for pubs it is a calculation based on ‘fair maintainable trade’ as determined by an independent assessor.
Business Rates have been reformed in recent years which has led to new unsustainably high rates. The average pub today pays a business rates bill of nearly £15,000. When looking at business rates as a percentage of turnover, pubs pay 5x more than the average of other sectors.