A RESPONSE TO THE TREASURY’S REVIEW ON SBR (SMALL BEER RELIEF)
We felt the business-critical issues we are facing could not be addressed in isolation which is why we were asking for The Treasury to undertake a comprehensive review on Small Beer Relief. For a brewer at our production level, numerous increases in duty applied to a percentage-based formula meant that duty now ‘trumps’ any economies of scale.
Relatively speaking, we are one of a smaller number of brewers operating on the duty curve compared to those who pay 50% of duty or those at 100%. In my time in the industry I have seen how the fragmented nature of the UK ale market has meant there have been times where we have missed opportunities to lobby or communicate as effectively as other drinks categories such as Whisky or Cider for example.
Therefore, so that Moorhouse’s voice could be heard, we felt we had to support both SIBA and the Brewers’ Coalition who were both calling for this full small beer relief review, even though they disagreed on some key points. For us it was about the bigger picture of getting The Treasury to commit to a much-needed review that encompassed all the issues including mergers and acquisitions and a possible export volume scheme like the one in Ireland.
We therefore supplied the same financial evidence of our ‘life on the curve’ to both bodies. We were then encouraged when the Treasury also asked us for the same evidence as part of their wider call to all brewers across the spectrum of brewing volume. This signalled to us the review would be both comprehensive and inclusive.
As it stands, we are unsure how any of this will affect our business and more importantly whether it will address the issues that prompted us, SIBA and the Coalition to ask for the review in the first place. Like everyone else, we must now wait for the consultation to start in the Autumn where I am sure there will be further changes and announcements.
On behalf of Moorhouse’s Brewery,