Rishi Sunak hints at help for pubs in Budget

Sunak hints at help for pubs in Budget following beer tax campaign by supermodel

‘They remain uppermost in my mind’: Chancellor responds to Jodie Kidd’s plea for help

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Sunday 28 February 2021 12:55

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has given pubs hope of a freeze or cut in taxes on beer, telling them they were “uppermost in his mind” as he prepares next Wednesday’s Budget.

Mr Sunak was responding to a campaign for help for landlords led by former supermodel Jodie Kidd, who now runs a pub in Sussex.

She is calling for a cut of at least 25 per cent in beer taxes, warning that without more support the pub industry could be “destroyed” just at the point when Britons want to go out and celebrate escaping lockdown.

And she said she believed that Mr Sunak was “a good guy” who would want to help.

Responding to Ms Kidd’s comments in an interview on Times Radio, Mr Sunak pointed to the freeze on alcohol duties in last year’s Budget as well as the business rates relief and emergency 5 per cent VAT rate offered to the hospitality sector during the coronavirus crisis.

And he said that pubs will benefit from the one-off restart grant worth up to £18,000 announced today to help hospitality businesses and retailers emerge from lockdown.

Mr Sunak refused to reveal his plans for alcohol taxes on 3 March.

But he told interview Tom Newton-Dunn: “I think Jodie makes a broader point that’s important. The hospitality industry is really important to the British economy.

“It’s over 150,000 businesses - pubs like hers and up and down the country. It and employs over 2 million people, and those people are disproportionately young women and those on low incomes.

“And beyond the economic impact, the hospitality industry is the life and soul of our towns, our villages, it’s how we celebrate  together, it’s an important part of our life. 

“For me it’s always been important to try and do what I can to support that industry. That’s why the grants today are really important. Hopefully, Jodie’s pub will get a grant.”

Mr Sunak said: “I care about that industry and the people who work at it and I want to try and do what I can to support those jobs.

“They should feel reassured that they remain uppermost in my mind, and you will see what we’re going to do in a few days’ time.”

Mr Sunak said that a review of alcohol taxation, which could see pubs given tax advantages over supermarkets when selling beer, will not report in time to feed into the 3 March Budget.

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