In 2013, the Government took the decision to end the beer duty escalator, and beer duty has been frozen or cut several times since then. Duty on spirits has been frozen over the past two years. I have spoken with colleagues at the Treasury, who assure me that as a result of these changes, a typical pint is cheaper than it would have been had these measures not been introduced.
I welcome the announcement that for the second time in 20 years every alcohol duty has been frozen, meaning that duty on spirits, beer, wine, and cider will be frozen.
A one-third discount to business rates for pubs and bars with a rateable values below £51,000 was introduced in 2018 and has now been increased to a 50 per cent discount for 2020-21. On top of this, as many as 18,000 pubs are expected to benefit from the new Pubs Relief set to be introduced this April, which will take £1,000 off the business rates bills of qualifying small pubs. I welcome that, in addition, this business rates discount will be £5,000 for the financial year 2020-21.
I want to see the Government continue to support pubs and keep costs down for consumers. Any decision to modify alcohol duty in the future is a matter for the Treasury.