Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has confirmed that the March Beer Duty payment will not be cancelled, leaving thousands of small independent breweries “under threat”.
This is according to the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), which called the chancellor’s decision to collect March’s Beer Duty payments as “incredibly disappointing” and a “huge blow” for the UK’s small independent brewers.
SIBA said brewers have been calling on the chancellor to “unilaterally” cancel the payment, due to be debited from bank accounts tomorrow (Wednesday 25 March).
It comes in the face of “decimated” sales following social distancing measures including pub, bar and restaurant closures, and as of last night, the closing of takeaway sales for beer businesses.
James Calder, SIBA chief executive said: “SIBA has been calling for the cancellation of Beer Duty for over a week and it is incredibly disappointing that the Chancellor has decided not to act, given he knows how poor the answer rate and experience on the helpline is.
“The chancellor has left brewers with few options if they are unsuccessful in reaching the helpline. There will be brewers tomorrow who will have thousands of pounds direct debited from their accounts by HMRC. This is a huge blow for the UK’s small independent brewers.”