A petition launched earlier this week, which calls on the government to reverse the proposed tax rise for small independent breweries, has received over 7,000 signatures in its first 24 hours.
The petition was launched by Jack Hobday, one of the founders of Anspach and Hobday Brewery in Bermondsey, which is being backed by SIBA.
The Treasury announced changes to Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR), which will reduce the 50% duty relief threshold from 5,000hl to 2,100hl. According to The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), small breweries will have to pay more duty, whilst larger breweries could pay the same or less.
At the time of going to press (9am, 11 August) the petition had gained over 7,000 signatures from concerned members of the public and those in the beer and brewing industry who will be affected by the proposed changes.
Hobday said: “This is a big threat to small breweries across the country. Our small brewers have created better competition, consumer choice, jobs, local investment and strengthened local communities. Please support us in reversing the proposed tax rises that could put hundreds of small breweries out of business.”
SIBA added that Small Breweries’ Relief is largely credited with the upsurge in small independent breweries over the last 20 years and creating such a diverse and successful British brewing industry.
James Calder, SIBA CEO, said: “James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive, says the organisation welcomes the government’s proposals to make it easier for businesses to grow but that this cannot come at the expense of smaller breweries who have been amongst the hardest hit during coronavirus, having been unable to apply for much of the Government support offered to the hospitality industry.
“Independent breweries have been left high and dry by the Government during Coronavirus, so to hit them now with a proposed tax rise will be devastating. During lockdown small brewers have seen beer sales drop by on average 80%, and just as they are taking their first steps back into normality the news of a proposed Tax Hike has caused a huge rift in the industry.”
He added: “For some breweries the rising tax bill could force them into closure and for many others it will stifle growth, as breweries delay growth in order to remain small to stay below the level at which beer tax starts to rise. It’s a huge own-goal by a government aiming to kickstart our economy, stimulate growth, and get local businesses thriving.
“The fact that the government has signalled tax rises for small brewers, but not telling us by how much is further adding to the uncertainty, worry and anger. We need the government to reverse the decision, or publish the details of their proposals so we know who are the winners and losers, and by how much.”