Cumbria Crack

Barrow MP Simon Fell backs calls for Chancellor to slash beer duty

Barrow MP Simon Fell in a pub

A Cumbrian MP has joined with 67 colleagues in writing to the Chancellor calling for a cut to beer duty.

Barrow MP Simon Fell is among those who have signed the letter, written to Rishi Sunak, calling for the duty to be slashed in the upcoming budget on March 3.

The boss of a family-run pub group has also backed the call.

Kirsty Ridge, managing director of Lakeland Inns, says the hospitality industry has ‘taken a relentless battering’ during the pandemic.

It follows concerted calls from the beer and pub sector for increased support from the Chancellor in his Budget following the announcement of the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown, which confirmed that pubs will not be able to fully open inside and outside without trading restrictions until mid-June at the earliest.

The British Beer and Pub Association has said the very cautious reopening of pubs will cost the sector £1.5 billion in lost trade in April alone, as three in five pubs will not be able to open or be viable with outside service only.

It says that even when pubs can reopen indoors from mid-May at the earliest, they will still be significantly down on business due to remaining trading restrictions.

To date, more than 500,000 people have signed the Long Live The Local petition calling on The Government to cut Beer Duty.

More than 275,000 people have also written to their local MP asking them to urge the Chancellor to cut Beer Duty.

Simon Fell said: “Pubs are at the heart of communities across Barrow and Furness, but with them bearing a disproportionate burden as a result of the pandemic the Government should consider a cut to beer tax.

“I’m supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax at this year’s budget to support pubs in our local communities.”