In a new report, the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) of MPs urges the Treasury to consider the merits of lowering duty on draught beers specifically, which are exclusively available in licensed premises and so have been uniquely hit by lockdown.
The Treasury is currently reviewing alcohol duty, which is expected to be completed during the summer.
"Halving the duty on draught beer – a cut of 22p on an average strength pint – would be a £600m shot in the arm to save our pubs and breweries,” says Mike Wood MP, chair of the APPBG.
Although pubs have now reopened, the report stresses that it is essential for the sector that the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown continues as planned.
However, it adds that even then sales will not be get back to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2022 at the earliest.
In total the APPBG report makes five recommendations that it says will prevent the decline of pubs and the brewing industry.
Alongside cuts to duty, VAT or business rates, they include asking the Government to consider targeted Covid debt-forgiveness and measures to ameliorate the impact of crown debt; and to incentivise and support investment in the UK’s hop sector, to tide it over a period of unprecedented uncertainty.
It also suggests the industry convene a working group to capitalise on the possibilities for cask beers as an environmentally friendly, locally focussed, premium and uniquely British product.
“The quintessential British pub has never been more vital to our communities than it is today, as we emerge from the dark isolation of the past 14 months," continues Wood.
"Unfortunately, in order to survive and thrive, the industry needs government to go even further in its support, extending and building on some of the measures introduced after March 2020.
“Supermarkets have flourished over the past year, with sales of wine and spirits soaring. But now we need to make sure that pubs and breweries come out of this fighting too.”