Thank you for contacting me about Small Brewers Relief.
I am encouraged by the generous financial support provided to breweries that have been disrupted by the pandemic. Grants have been made available through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund to cover a variety of costs.
As you are aware, following the conclusion of a review into Small Brewers Relief, the scheme’s taper will be smoothed. Colleagues at the Treasury assure me that this change has been subject to substantial consideration, and it is believed that it will support growth, boost productivity, and remove ‘cliff-edges’. It will take effect more gradually over a wider range of production, starting at 2,100 hectolitres per year, and be converted to a cash basis.
I also welcome a further technical consultation as part of the review into Small Brewers Relief. This consultation ran until 4 April 2021 and I look forward to the Government's response in due course.
Beyond the Small Breweries' Relief, there is a broad recognition of the need to reform the current alcohol duty system to support the alcoholic drinks and pubs sector in the longer term. On 1 October 2020, a call for evidence for reform of Alcohol Duty was published. Now that we have left the EU, the UK has the opportunity to set law more freely in this area in a way which is simpler, more rational and more efficient to administer. As well as looking forward to the outcome of this review, I welcome that, to support the hospitality industry and its suppliers, the duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits have been frozen for another year.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP