CAMRA’s Chief Executive, Tim Page, is back to provide the readers of On-Trade Progress with an exclusive opinion on how the recent snap election is likely to affect the hospitality sector:
I think it is safe to say that we were all taken by surprise by the outcome of this General Election. With no commanding majority in the House, the Conservatives have had to enter into a shaky alliance with the DUP – leading to a major re-think of the Conservative Manifesto as well as our country’s strategy in the Brexit negotiations.
While it too early to comment on how this unprecedented alliance will fare, we can say that the election has brought in a Parliament that is broadly supportive of the beer and pubs sector. 130 MPs – 20% of the House of Commons – have pledged to celebrate and promote Britain’s breweries, support action to help pubs thrive and represent the interests of pub-goers, beer and cider drinkers.In addition, CAMRA’s #pledgeforpubs election campaign crossed party lines, with 69 Labour, 46 Conservative and two DUP MPs pledging their support. This particular outcome is a testament
In addition, CAMRA’s #pledgeforpubs election campaign crossed party lines, with 69 Labour, 46 Conservative and two DUP MPs pledging their support.This particular outcome is a testament
This particular outcome is a testament to all of the hard work and dedication of CAMRA members, who sent 7,500 emails to candidates in the few short weeks preceding the election. This huge sign of support demonstrates what can be possible in lobbying terms when the industry works side by side with its customers who care passionately about the future of pubs and good beer.CAMRA would now like to work with the industry as a whole to hold MPs
CAMRA would now like to work with the industry as a whole to hold MPs accountable to their public pledges. As a starting point, CAMRA is calling on the Government to deliver on its Manifesto commitment to review the business rates system and relieve the tax burden on the pub sector. Despite the fact that pubs are a force for good in many local communities, they continue to face a huge tax bill which has recently been made even worse through recent increases to beer duty and business rates. We are very concerned that pubs are facing a punitive tax burden, which sees an average pub pay £140,000 a year in direct taxes, or 34p in every £1 taken in the till.
Ultimately it is the consumer who will pay, as publicans are forced to put up prices. This could lead to a number of pub closures in a time of economic uncertainty. CAMRA is, therefore, asking the Government to help relieve the pressure by making the Pubs Relief Scheme, a £1,000 one-off concession announced in the last Budget, permanent and extending it to £5,000 per pub per year.
With all the political uncertainty we face – and the possibility of another election around the corner – we cannot afford to slow down the pace of our campaigning. The political parties are going to treat the coming months as a continuing election campaign and we need to do that too. The voice of beer and pubs needs to be maintained at high volume so that those in power know that it’s a key issue for millions of voters.