Gavin Williamson, MP for South Staffordshire, joined with the British Beer & Pub Association, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) for their ‘Message in a Barrel’ campaign.
Gavin posted his in the handcrafted barrel, specially made by Yorkshire brewer Theakston’s, alongside almost 50 other MPs to add his voice to the campaign. The three cuts in beer duty over the past three Budgets have proved a massive boost for brewing and pubs in the UK, resulting in more affordable beer and millions of pounds of investment in pubs.
However, there is still more that can be done. Beer tax in the UK remains far higher than that neighbouring European countries. In Germany, for example, the rate of tax on beer is some thirteen times lower than here in the UK. British beer drinkers pay almost 40 per cent of all the beer tax in the EU despite only drinking 12% of the beer. Brewing and pubs make a massive contribution to the UK economy. As a sector it supports almost 900,000 jobs across the country and contributes £22bn to UK GDP.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “I am delighted that so many MPs have shown their support. It is the most direct, targeted way of helping pubs. Strong support from MPs always gives a real boost to our campaign - we have built a very strong case for further duty cuts to boost employment and protect pubs, as the industry still faces big pressures.”
Gavin commented: “I was delighted to attend the ‘Message in a Barrel’ campaign even in Parliament. Pubs form the heart of many of our local communities and play an incredibly important role within the social life of numerous village residents. Many of Britain’s independent pubs, today, are struggling and we need to do all that we can to support this important national industry and ensure its survival in the generations to come.”