Pub industry wants extended licensing hours for World Cup 2014

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: World cup, Beer

The BBPA says extended licensing hours would bring a £20mn boost to UK pubs
The BBPA says extended licensing hours would bring a £20mn boost to UK pubs
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) is calling on the Government to offer greater flexibility on licensing hours for the World Cup 2014, with some games set to kick off as late as 11pm UK time.

The organisation, led by Brigid Simmonds, has written to the Home office Minister responsible for licensing, Norman Baker, calling for similar flexibility to that shown for the likes of the Royal Wedding and Diamond Jubilee.

Simmonds says the tournament, which runs from 12 June to 13 July, will provide a much needed financial fillip for pubs across England.

“That England qualified for the World Cup is something to be celebrated,” she said. “Without pubs able to open their doors to fans everywhere, the atmosphere at home will not be what it should. As the inevitable highs and lows of the tournament progress, let us enjoy them together and back ‘Roy’s Boys’ in the next best place to being there – the pub.

“This would provide a £20 million boost to thousands of small businesses across the nation, with fans becoming a real part of the celebration.”

Beer Tax cut

The British beer industry has something to celebrate, with new figures showing that UK beer sales rose by 5.2 per cent in the third quarter – the biggest quarter-on-quarter increase this century.

After the fine summer weather and increased optimism over the Chancellor’s popular Beer Tax cut in the March Budget, the BBPA’s latest Beer Barometer revealed that Q3 was the the most favourable on-trade third quarter since 2003.

While there were some losses in the on-trade (pubs, bars and restaurants) of 1.2 per cent on the same quarter last year, the off-trade enjoyed a major boost, with a 12.5 per cent rise in sales.

Future success

The rise means that Chancellor George Osborne collected £16m more in beer taxes (duty and VAT) in the past quarter, despite the two per cent cut in Beer Duty. The BBPA believes that the tax cut represents a big milestone for the industry, with renewed confidence boosting investment.

“After many years of disappointing figures it’s great to see a great British product reporting such a strong third quarter performance,” added Simmonds. “There is a still a way to go, but with increased investment and a fairer tax regime, we can build for future success.

“With the Beer Duty escalator cancelled by George Osborne, and tax revenues up, there is a real opportunity, if we have another freeze next year.”

The sector’s confidence has also been boosted by Let There Be Beer, a major new industry campaign funded by the large brewers championing the entire category – the largest investment of its kind for many years. 

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