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Price of pint could rise by 10p if beer tax increased, landlords warn

PUBLISHED: 17:32 15 October 2018

Norwich landlords have painted a bleak picture for the region's pubs if beer tax is hiked at the budget next week.

Norwich landlords have painted a bleak picture for the region's pubs if beer tax is hiked at the budget next week.

Archant

The price of a pint could rise by as much as ten pence if beer duty is increased at the budget next week, landlords in Norwich have warned.

Norwich landlords warn price of pint might rise 10p if beer tax increased.Norwich landlords warn price of pint might rise 10p if beer tax increased.

A 3.4% hike in tax on beer production is expected in the Chancellor’s autumn budget, which will be delivered on October 29, prompting fear among pub owners that they will have to pass on the cost to consumers.

Norwich’s 133 pubs and bars employ 2,042 people directly, paying them £18 million in wages, new analysis from Oxford Economics, a firm which assesses markets and their impacts, shows. They also support another 721 jobs and £14 million in wages indirectly,

The total value of the area’s pubs to the economy is £67 million, the analysis reveals.

But landlords have painted a bleak picture of pubs in the region if beer tax is increased.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

Victoria MacDonald, who runs three pubs including The White Lodge in Attleborough, The Cellar House in Eaton and The Old Ram Inn in Tivetshall St Mary, said: “Taxes are put on the brewers and the production of beer. Therefore it costs me more to buy it, therefore more to sell it.

“The margins in the industry are so very small at best,” she added, “there is no other option except to pass it on to the customer. And that is hitting customers as well, who are already facing enough pressures.”

She expects that some landlords might have to increase the price of a pint “as much as five to ten pence”.

Ms MacDonald said that for pubs that are “on the line, this could be enough to close them down” and other might have to “drop staff”.

Philip Cutter, owner of The Murderers pub in Norwich, noted the number of pubs that have recently closed.

In August, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 145 pubs and bars across Norfolk shut between 2010 and 2017.

The closures hit not only the pubs but also jobs on the supply chain, Mr Cutter said.

“For every one pub employee there are eighteen more employed on the brewing chain, the people who grow the barley, those who malt the barley, to distributors and delivery-men,” he said.

Ms MacDonald said the potential hike is “dreadful really”.

“What can one say?” she said. “There are enough challenges for pubs as it is, without having to face an increase in beer tax as well.

“I defy any other publican to have a different opinion,” she said.

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