Chancellor bleeds boozers dry

Publicans make just £45,000 a year in profit and pay £145,000 to the Treasury in duty and VAT. That's enough to give any brewer the droop.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
According to Enterprise Inns, which runs 6,000 pubs in the UK, the humble British boozer has become little more than a tax collector for government. ‘It’s dreadful,’ says CEO Ted Tuppen. ‘On average the publican, our tenant, makes £45,000 a year. The Chancellor, from duty, VAT and everything else, gets £145,000.’

The problem is the ever-rising duty paid on alcohol, posits Tuppen. Today, around 55p of every £3 pint goes to the taxman, and that’s before a publican has forked out for VAT, business rates and employment taxes. Enterprise Inns reckons that its pubs now pay a total of £870m a year to the Treasury.

The taxman’s pint glass is definitely half full. In the past four years alone, beer duty has increased by 42%, despite the rising numbers of pub closures across the UK. And it’s going to get even tougher in the beer trade next year, when beer duty is expected to rise yet again, increasing by 2% on top of inflation.

Tuppen admits that it’s unlikely that any lobbying will convince Chancellor George Osborne to scrap the increases, however. The government is ‘short’ of money, he says. and ‘if they ever did anything about beer duty the health lobby would be down on them like a shot,’ he says.

Perhaps the Chancellor's always been more of a wine man…

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