'It won't help us' - Norwich pubs react to alcohol changes

Dawn Hopkins, landlady at the Rose in Norwich. Picture: Archant

Dawn Hopkins, landlady at the Rose in Norwich. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

There was a mixed reaction to the chancellor's autumn budget from two Norwich landlords.

On Wednesday the chancellor of the Exchequer unveiled the budget, revealing a host of changes for pubs, hospitality and leisure.

In the changes were a new 50pc business rates discount in the year 2022-2023 for companies in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, including pubs lasting for one year up to a maximum of £110,000 and 5pc duty cut on draught beer and cider from containers over 40 litres.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to

Chancellor Rishi Sunak outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Dawn Hopkins, who runs the Rose Inn and is vice-chair for the campaign for pubs (COP), welcomed the business rate relief but said it did little to help people now because it does not come in until 2022.

"The budget was disappointing, we would've liked for help with VAT but that's not in there," she said.

"My pub gets a lot of craft beer which comes in 30-litre containers so the 5pc duty cut won't help us.

"And it's a discount on the brewers' side and they're experiencing the same price rises as we are. I don't think we will see discounts.

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"This budget seems to penalise the smaller, independent producers while giving help to the large companies that don't really need it.

"It won't help us."

Ms Hopkins said her concerns were echoed by other pubs part of COP, with no one saying it was a great saviour for them.

Not all Norwich pub owners were as concerned as Ms Hopkins.

Mike Lorenz, landlord at the Whalebone was more cautiously optimistic.

"It's difficult to understand what's going to happen and when it will happen but It looks like it a lot of it won't change until 2023," he said.

"Anything that helps on duty and keeps prices down is great news."

Steve Fiske and owner Mike Lorenz celebrate their 20 year working relationship at the Whalebone pub

Steve Fiske and owner Mike Lorenz celebrate their 20 year working relationship at the Whalebone pub in Norwich.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Mr Lorenz said it was unlikely the public would see a reduction in costs of a pint and they needed to wait to see what the impact would be.

Nik Antona, national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) welcomed the budget's changes.

“A new, lower rate of duty for draught beer and cider served in pubs and clubs establishes an important principle in the taxation system – that pubs are a force for good in our communities and should be supported to help them survive and compete with the likes of supermarkets," he said.

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