PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has added his voice to calls to cut duty for draught beer sold in pubs to help the industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plan, which would see pubs pay lower duty on draught beer than in paid by supermarket operators on bottles and cans, would target support to Britain’s pub trade.

Stephen Crabb said: “Pembrokeshire’s pubs are so important to our communities but have suffered very badly during lockdown.  While supermarkets have been trading healthily throughout the pandemic, pubs have been forced to close and must adopt many expensive measures to keep the public covid safe on reopening.

“Because 98% of all beer drunk in pubs is brewed in Britain, and beer accounts for almost half of all drinks they sell, cutting duty on draught beer would target help and support to pubs.”

Stephen Crabb was one of 76 Conservative MPs who wrote to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking him to introduce a lower draught beer duty on beer sold in pubs and clubs.

Keith Bott, owner of Titanic Brewery & former Chair of SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, who is coordinating the campaign said: “I would like to thank Stephen and his colleagues for giving their support to Britain’s pubs and breweries by backing a Draught Beer Duty cut.  This has been an extremely difficult year, and with the extra costs of being covid safe, many pubs are facing an uncertain future.  Cutting duty on draught beer will get support into the hands of publicans and Brewers and allow them to survive and invest in their futures”

Stephen added: “The Government has already provided huge financial assistance to businesses across the country, but a Draught Beer Duty cut could really help by boosting investment and creating new jobs in the hospitality sector. I’m looking forward to enjoying a visit to my local as soon as we can, and I would urge everyone to get out and enjoy a pint of great British beer in their local community pub”

At the end of last year Stephen Crabb  joined calls for the Chancellor to reconsider changes to a scheme which has transformed the small brewing sector in the UK.

In a joint letter to Rishi Sunak, Stephen Crabb argues that changing Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) will put a great British success story under threat at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive.

Under the current system, small breweries pay a proportionate amount of tax on the small amount of beer they produce compared to the global companies that dominate the industry. Up to 5,000 hectolitres – which is about 900,000 pints – they pay 50% of beer duty to the Treasury.

Pembrokeshire is home to a number of small breweries, including Bluestone Brewing, Gwaun Valley Brewery and the newly established St Davids Old Farmhouse Brewery.

Speaking in December, Stephen Crabb said: “Our small independent brewers are a real success story, and the support provided through Small Breweries’ Relief is key to their future. These businesses have been severely impacted by the Covid pandemic and now is not the time to be making changes to this scheme.”

At the time, Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, James Calder said: “SBR has been a great success, revolutionising brewing in the UK and allowing more brewers to start up and compete against the global companies that dominate beer in our country. The Chancellor is forcing changes on small breweries, which we have not asked for and do not support. The Treasury needs to urgently reverse course, not reduce the 50% threshold below 5,000hl and give the industry something to cheer about.”