Support welcome but reform needed for “sickly” pub sector

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The pub sector needs a tax overhaul, according to Gavin Young, landlord of the Plough and Barleycorn on the Isle of Wight, who welcomed a reduction in beer duty and business rates in the recent budget – but emphasised that it’s not enough.


The new cuts on draught beer, which don’t come into play until 2023, where hailed as “revolutionary” and a “game changer” by some in the sector, but Young believes the bigger picture is still rather bleak.

“The system that we have in place now was developed when pubs were the golden child of the high street and it was right for us to shoulder the largest burden,” he said in a commentary on the Morning Advertiser. “Pubs are now the sickly child of the high street yet the economy earns far more from every pint sold than it does from the off-trade. Our time of shouldering the burden of business rates has passed and the system needs urgent review.”

In his pub, Young intends to show customers that there has not only been a duty cut, but an inflation rise, demonstrating the origins of annual rises to maintain pressure on the brewers to pass on duty cuts. He added that while a 50 percent reduction in business rates has been rightly welcomed, there has still been no mention of the reform that the system so desperately needs.

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