Budget 2017: St Albans groups criticise beer duty rise

The chancellor has announced changes to taxes for pubs and beer drinkers.

The chancellor has announced changes to taxes for pubs and beer drinkers. - Credit: Archant

The announcement of a rates discount for pubs has been overshadowed by criticism of a rise in beer duty.

St Albans MP Anne Main welcomed the chancellor’s £1,000 business rate discount for pubs as “excellent news”. The measure was included in yesterday’s Budget, and will apply to pubs with a rateable value of under £10,000.

Mrs Main said: “This is excellent news for our historic pubs.

“These measures by the chancellor will help ensure the future of pubs in our old towns, and protect a vitally important aspect of British life.”

But the measure has been eclipsed by criticism from CAMRA and Save St Albans of an announced rise in beer duty.

CAMRA’s chairman Colin Valentine said: “UK beer drinkers, pubs and brewers have been let down by the chancellor’s decision to increase beer duty for the first time in five years.

“The decision completely ignores the pressures that are being faced by the beer and pub sectors.”

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However he added: “We are delighted that the government has recognised the vital role pubs play, both in our local communities and our economy, by introducing a new rate relief specifically for pubs in England.

“The announcement of a new rate relief for pubs is a ground-breaking step, which recognises both the importance of pubs, and the unfair impact of the business rate system on pubs.”

Meanwhile, Save St Albans Pubs said: “The £1000 decrease for year one on business rates is welcome, but with most of our affected pubs facing an average increase of £27,000 this will not be music to many publicans ears in St Albans.

“We are very happy with the local discretionary fund of £300m and are looking to see how this will support pubs affected in our local area.”

The chamber of commerce joined with Mrs Main in welcoming the discount, saying: “The business rate relief will also be welcome by local businesses especially our great city pubs.”