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Workington MP calls for Chancellor to support small breweries

Mark Jenkinson MP

Workington MP Mark Jenkinson has joined calls for the Chancellor to reconsider changes to a scheme which has transformed the small brewing sector in the UK.

A joint letter signed by Mr Jenkinson argues that changing Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) will put a great British success story under threat at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive.

SBR has provided the basis for growth and innovation in the brewing sector and means there is a small brewery in nearly every constituency, employing 6,000 full time jobs and contributing £270 million to GDP each year.

Under the current system, small breweries pay a proportionate amount of tax on the small amount of beer they produce compared to the global companies that dominate the industry. Up to 5,000 hectolitres – which is about 900,000 pints – they pay 50 per cent of beer duty to the Treasury.

Plans announced by the Treasury in July will see the 50 per cent threshold reduced from 5,000 hl to 2,100hl – meaning that over 150 small breweries will have to pay more tax.

At the same time, those larger in size will pay the same amount of tax or less. The Treasury also proposes converting the relief to a ‘cash basis’ which could see support for all brewers receiving SBR being eroded away.

Mr Jenkinson said: I welcome the Government support that has aided businesses and their employees throughout this challenging time.

“The Coronavirus Job Retention scheme has protected 9.6 million workers so far and almost 1.1 million businesses. The dedicated team at Allerdale Borough Council have awarded over £43 million in business support grants across the district to date.

“Without this support our vital businesses would be in a far worse position.

The UK’s small independent brewers are a real success story, and the support provided through Small Breweries’ Relief has been a catalyst for their success. I would like the Chancellor to reassess the removal of the relief to enable further growth in the sector.”