Written by RICH GUTTRIDGE
BREWERS and pubs in Burton have been handed a massive boost after Chancellor George Osborne announced a beer duty cut for the second successive year.
The 1p tax cut was announced during yesterday’s Budget speech, to the delight of Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths, who said the move would enable pubs and brewers in the town to ‘create jobs and prosper’.
The politician had been campaigning furiously for an unprecedented second successive cut after duty was slashed last year for the first time in more than half a century, but admitted the news still came as a shock.
He said he was stunned when the cut was confirmed and that the announcement had exceeded his ‘wildest expectations’.
His unrelenting drive to secure another cut was commended by various industry leaders, and was also alluded to by the Chancellor himself.
Mr Osborne said the move would save pubs and create jobs.
He told the House of Commons during his budget speech yesterday: “And then there’s beer. I know the industry, led so ably by my honourable friend for Burton, have been campaigning for a freeze.
“But beer duty next week will not be frozen. It will be cut again by one pence.
“Pubs saved. Jobs created. A penny off a pint for the second year running.”
Following the announcement, Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “I am absolutely stunned and delighted with the success of the campaign and a second cut in beer duty.
“This is a budget that is good for Burton breweries and pub companies and I am thrilled. It has completely exceeded my wildest expectations.
“We were pleased when we got the cut last year and a repeat this year is absolutely fantastic and will mean breweries and publicans can invest in the brewing industry long term.
“It was very kind of the Chancellor to single me out for praise and I think anybody who was watching on TV would have seen how chuffed I was.”
The town’s brewing giants Marston’s and Molson Coors also toasted the announcement.
The industry had been anxiously awaiting what the Chancellor would decide to do one year on from the historic cut.
Marston’s said the decision had allowed it to invest millions of pounds into expanding the company and create new jobs.
But at a time when local authorities are having to tighten their belts, many brewing bosses would have gladly accepted a freeze yesterday morning.
Marston’s managing director Richard Westwood said: “This news is far more than we had expected and we are delighted for our breweries, beers and pubs.
“It safeguards hundreds of jobs across the industry and allows for future planning and investing back into our business with a better level of certainty. It will undoubtedly stimulate growth across the sector for the second year running.
“Its great news for companies like Marston’s who create a lot of new jobs every year with our pub opening programme.”
Simon Cox, managing director at Molson Coors said: “This duty cut gives a much needed boost to our customers and the brewing industry, securing jobs and saving money for beer drinkers up and down the UK. This, and the scrapping of the duty escalator last year, is a very welcome and vital break.”
South Derbyshire’s MP Heather Wheeler also spoke of her gratitude for the Chancellor’s decision.
She said: “I have been working with CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), fellow MPs and local brewers and beer lovers in South Derbyshire to protect the price of a pint.
“On behalf of the constituents of South Derbyshire I am raising a pint to George Osborne in thanks of the reduction in tax.”