Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Stephen Crabb MP calls for Chancellor to support small breweries

Published

on

PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has joined calls for the Chancellor to reconsider changes to a scheme which has transformed the small brewing sector in the UK.

In a joint letter to Rishi Sunak, Stephen Crabb 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% of beer duty to the Treasury.

Plans announced by the Treasury in July will see the 50% 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.

Pembrokeshire is home to a number of small breweries, including Bluestone Brewing, Gwaun Valley Brewery and the newly establish St Davids Old Farmhouse Brewery.

Stephen Crabb said: “Our small independent brewers are a real success story, and the support provided through Small Breweries’ Relief is key to their future. These businesses have been severely impacted by the Covid pandemic and now is not the time to be making changes to this scheme.”

Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, James Calder said: “SBR has been a great success, revolutionising brewing in the UK and allowing more brewers to start up and compete against the global companies that dominate beer in our country. The Chancellor is forcing changes on small breweries, which we have not asked for and do not support. The Treasury needs to urgently reverse course, not reduce the 50% threshold below 5,000hl and give the industry something to cheer about.”

The full text of the letter signed by 103 MPs is below:

Dear Chancellor,

A great British success story under threat

The craft beer industry is a great British success story, the envy of the brewing world, and leading the way in innovation and the development of new and exciting beers.

There is a small brewery in nearly every constituency, making around 7% of the beer produced in the UK, employing 6,000 FTE jobs, and directly contributing £270 million to GDP each year. This is something we can all raise our glasses to.

This has, in no small part, been propelled by the Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) scheme introduced in 2002, which has provided the basis for growth and innovation. You will be aware that SBR means that small breweries pay a proportionate amount of duty to the Treasury. Those producing up to 5,000 hectolitres (hl) a year (approximately 900,000 pints) pay 50% of the full duty rate. Above 5,000hl, brewers pay beer duty on a sliding scale, up to the same 100% rate paid by the largest, multinational corporates.

However, changes proposed by the Government to SBR stands to put this success story at risk.

Proposed changes to Small Breweries’ Relief

As a cross-party group of MPs, we are concerned by the recently announced conclusion of the Treasury review of SBR, which proposes to reduce the threshold for the 50% rate in beer duty from 5,000hl to 2,100hl. This will have a devastating impact on at least 150 small breweries brewers across the country, including the Pennine Brewery in your constituency. The proposed move to a cash basis could also lead to the support for all brewers receiving SBR being eroded away as there will be no guarantee the rate will change at all or keep up with inflation.

The review of SBR represents a long-awaited opportunity to fully assess and address the inconsistencies within the duty system but it must be done so in the right way. The current ‘cliff edge’ of relief at 5,000hl does act as a disincentive to growth, and needs to be addressed, but this should not be at the expense of the smaller breweries.

The decision to reduce the starting level to 2,100hl redistributes relief from smaller to larger brewers and is against the original principles of SBR – it will no longer be a progressive beer duty. Fifteen Members from across the House took part in in an adjournment debate on Monday 9th November 2020, demonstrating the interest in this subject.

We therefore urge you to reconsider this approach and look at alternatives that will allow the cliff edge to be smoothed out to incentivise growth without withdrawing any relief for any brewer below 5,000hl.

Now is not the time to penalise small breweries

We are aware that the proposed changes are not expected to come into effect until 2022 but, as we all know, it will take some time for the country and the brewing sector to recover from the impacts of Covid-19. The anxiety caused by the delay in the technical consultation and what the new system might look like only also adds to the uncertainty faced by the sector over the past few months.

The industry emerged from the initial lockdown where brewers lost 80% of their sales due to the closure of pubs, and small breweries have poured away 5 million pints of spoiled beer. Even as pubs opened over the summer, sales were down 50% on a normal July, and breweries were not eligible for the Business Rates holiday or £25,000 grant. This is already taking its toll: two small, independent breweries are going out of business every week.

Research by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) shows that 58% of small breweries are delaying investment, 51% are delaying employing new staff, whilst 49% are delaying increasing capacity because of the uncertainty caused by these proposed changes.

We believe that now is not the time to burden this sector further. It will reduce consumer choice by reversing the revolution in new and innovative breweries, pulling up the ladder for breweries who want to grow.

We also hope that you will continue to engage with sector representatives like SIBA to ensure that the reformed SBR promotes and sustains the craft beer revolution, rather than hinder it.

News

Two arrests in Haverfordwest after reports of man in possession of a knife

Published

on

THERE was a large police response following 999 calls made in Haverfordwest last night to reports of an affray involving an offensive weapon.

Multiple police units descended on Fleming Crescent just before nine o’clock on Thursday (May 19).

Two people were taken into police custody, where they remain, police confirmed.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We were called to a disturbance and reports of a man in possession of a knife in Fleming Crescent, Haverfordwest, at around 8.50pm on Thursday, 19 May.

“A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of an offensive weapon, while a 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of affray.

“Both remain in police custody.”

Continue Reading

Business

Grape expectations for Welsh Wine Week 2022

Published

on

THIS JUNE, Welsh vineyards will welcome guests from Wales and beyond to taste what Wales’ burgeoning wine sector has to offer during its annual Welsh Wine Week.

From Saturday 4th to Sunday 12th June, free events, competitions, expert guided tours and tastings will make up the Welsh Wine Week schedule and give wine lovers the chance to personally discover the country’s picturesque vineyards and sample their wide range of award-winning vintages.

Special product releases will take place during Welsh Wine Week to commemorate the event, including Pembrokeshire’s Velfrey Vineyard’s Cuvée Reserve Sparkling Brut, a 2019 vintage traditional method sparkling brut wine, made especially from the vineyard’s Seyval Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes.

Confirmed events for Welsh Wine Week 2022 include: a cheese and Welsh wine sampling event from Gwinllan Conwy (in collaboration with Bodnant Welsh Food), White Castle Vineyard will be holding a tasting of their wines with Fine Wines Direct and there will be free vineyard tours and wine tastings across the week from Parva Farm vineyard.

Andy Mounsey, owner of Velfrey Vineyard and Chairman of the Welsh Vineyard Association, said: “Whether you relish in a red, white, rosé or sparkling wine, Welsh Wine Week is the perfect opportunity to show consumers what the Welsh wine industry has to offer.

“Wales is making strides in its wine production and has proudly adopted an innovative approach in which its experimental and diverse with the wine it produces. Wine producers are working collaboratively to drive the industry forward and championing each other, creating a supportive and closely connected network of vineyards.

“We have all been waiting fondly for the return of Welsh Wine Week and will mark the first event with no restrictions with a stellar line up of producers. We hope to welcome many more wine enthusiasts into our businesses this year, so please sign up to our events and treat yourself to some quality Welsh wine as you do.”

Full event listings and access to exclusive competitions and interviews with Welsh vineyards can be found on the dedicated Welsh Wine Week website.

Welsh Wine Week is organised by the Welsh Drinks Cluster, funded by Welsh Government, which works in partnership with Welsh drinks producers to promote the industry and its production of world class products.

For more information go to: https://www.welshwineweek.co.uk/

Continue Reading

News

Warm Pembrokeshire welcome for Ukrainians fleeing from war

Published

on

THE PEMBROKESHIRE community has been preparing a warm welcome to Ukrainian people fleeing the devastating war in their homeland.

Across Pembrokeshire, people have been signing up to become sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine scheme – one of the formal routes by which Ukrainian people can make their way to the UK, having been matched with a local family.

To date, Pembrokeshire has seen over 75 households signing up to the scheme.

As part of the formal process for becoming a sponsor, Pembrokeshire County Council is undertaking checks to ensure that people arriving from Ukraine are being offered safe and comfortable environments in which to live.

When people arrive with their sponsor household, contact is made by the Council to welcome them, support them with any immediate needs and ensure that they know where they can get information and advice.

The Pembrokeshire Community Hub, a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council, PAVS and Volunteering Matters, is also working with Council teams and community groups to ensure that people are offered a warm welcome to the county.

People who are hosting and sponsoring families arriving from Ukraine are being equipped with information packs to help them prepare for their guests’ arrival and are also being invited to become part of an online support network, where they can connect and support one another.

The support has led to positive feedback from local people hosting Ukrainians with compliments for the level of assistance and support provided.

Community groups are also establishing themselves across the County, offering a range of support to those arriving.

This includes spaces to meet, organised community gatherings and fundraising activities.

Through the Community Hub and with support of PAVS, these groups are also being encouraged to join Pembrokeshire Community Support Network – Ukraine, where they can get up to date information, share with one another and get support when needed.

If you are looking to support people arriving from Ukraine, or are already doing so, and would like more information, please contact the Pembrokeshire Community Hub on 01437 776301 or ukrainecommunityresponse@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

Continue Reading

News21 hours ago

Warm Pembrokeshire welcome for Ukrainians fleeing from war

THE PEMBROKESHIRE community has been preparing a warm welcome to Ukrainian people fleeing the devastating war in their homeland. Across...

Business2 days ago

New McDonald’s restaurant to be built in Milford Haven if planning approved

MC DONALD’S will be coming to Milford Haven if plans are passed by local councillors. Planning applications have been submitted...

Business3 days ago

Employment figures show ‘labour market is strong’ says local MP Stephen Crabb

FIGURES published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics show that unemployment is falling across the country while the number...

News3 days ago

Pembroke Dock: Five years in jail for Asda cashpoint robbery

A PEMBROKE DOCK man has been jailed for five years for robbing a woman at knifepoint at the cashpoint at...

News4 days ago

War Graves Week is coming to Milford Haven

THE COMMONWEALTH War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be bringing War Graves Week to Milford Haven and offering free tours at...

Crime4 days ago

Former County Councillor with £80 per week ‘speed’ habit fined in court

FORMER County Councillor Paul Dowson – who says he has an £80 per week ‘speed’ habit – has admitted possession...

Crime4 days ago

Disqualified driver who caused A40 crash broke down in tears in court

A BANNED driver who caused a multi-vehicle pile-up on the A40 on Saturday (May 14) said in court on Monday...

Crime5 days ago

Father says his two-year-old son was ‘1cm from death’ from dog bite injuries to head

A MILFORD HAVEN man has been ordered to carry out 120 hours of community service after he admitted losing control...

Crime5 days ago

Haverfordwest man accused of murder appears in court

THE MAN accused of the murder of Lisa Fraser has appeared in front of the bench at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court...

Crime5 days ago

Haverfordwest man Matthew Harris charged with the murder of Lisa Fraser

DYFED-POWYS POLICE has confirmed that they have tonight (Sunday, May 15) charged 41-year-old Matthew Harris, of Barn Court, Haverfordwest with...

Popular This Week