The head of one of Yorkshire’s best-known breweries has written to MPs across the region urging them to back calls for a freeze of beer duty in this March’s Budget.
Simon Theakston, executive director of Masham-based T&R Theakston Ltd wants MPs from the “brewing capital of the country”, to sign up to a Parliamentary Motion, EDM 892, to show their support for the local beer and pub trade.
The motion supports a wider campaign led by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), to freeze beer duty following the historic decision last year to cut duty and abolish the controversial beer duty escalator.
The industry says that increasing the tax this year would cancel out the benefit of last year’s cut, despite which, UK beer taxes still remain among the highest in Europe.
With 300,000 young people employed in the industry (1 in 12 of 16-24 year olds in employment), Mr Theakston said last year’s decision was a step in the right direction, and continuing in this vein would boost growth and secure jobs, especially for young people.
In his role as chairman of the Yorkshire regional group of the BBPA, Mr Theakston will be leading a delegation from the county famed for its brewing heritage to Parliament, to further highlight the importance of the beer and pub industry.
Mr Theakston and his colleagues will stress the positive contribution of the industry, to both the local and national economy, as well as to champion its ability to curb youth unemployment by providing work for many thousands of young people across the country.
Mr Theakston said:
“I’m calling on all of Yorkshire’s MPs to throw their weight behind our calls for a duty freeze and back this motion in Parliament.
“We are investing heavily in our Masham brewery, but a rise in duty may put the brakes on this.
“Beer taxes are still too high and an increase in duty, just a year after it was cut for the first time since 1959, wouldn’t make any sense.
“Beer and pubs are vital to our local economy and jobs, especially for young people.”
Mr Theakston added:
“Pubs and beer are synonymous with Yorkshire and deeply embedded within British culture – in recent years we have seen far too many pubs close, in part due to taxes imposed on us by successive Governments.”