Cumbria Crack

Lakeland Inns boss joins call for Chancellor to cut beer duty

Kirsty Ridge, managing director of Lakeland Inns

The boss of a family-run pub group has joined calls for Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to slash beer duty in next month’s budget.

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

With a roadmap out of lockdown now in place and provisional dates for the reopening of pubs announced, a group of MPs have called for further measures to support the industry.

Kirsty, who has five pubs across Cumbria, said: “Our industry has been profoundly affected by the pandemic. For the vast majority of the last 12 months, our pubs have either been closed or open but operating under restrictions.

“The hospitality industry has taken a relentless battering, to the degree that many pubs will never open their doors again.

“In many cases, we lie at the heart of communities. Pubs are places to meet, places of friendship and places of happiness.

“Every measure that can be taken to help us reopen, provide jobs and contribute to the economy is welcome and I support the call for the chancellor to consider a reduction in beer duty.”

A cut in the duty would help pubs that have suffered massively as a result of coronavirus lockdowns, the group of 68 Conservative MPs argue.

They have written to Mr Sunak warning that the “devastating” consequences of the pandemic have put pubs and breweries at risk.

In the letter, the MPs called for a “significant cut in beer duty over the course of this Parliament”.

They warned that some pubs, many of them “long-standing community assets” could be lost for good – with a “substantial” knock-on effect on brewers.

The average UK pint is taxed about 11 times higher than the equivalent beer in Germany or Spain, they said, with the total £3.6 billion in beer duty paid each year higher than France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Ireland combined.

Britons pay 54p in duty on a pint of five per cent beer, while in Spain and Germany the equivalent duty would be just 5p.

The Chancellor was also urged to cut duty on spiriInts in his budget.