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…