Trouble Brewing: Bath MP Urges Chancellor to help small breweries in Bath.

By Office of Wera Hobhouse, Oct 26, 2021 12:10

Bath MP has called for the Chancellor to announce positive changes to Small Breweries Relief (SBR) which retains the current threshold at 5,000 hectolitres. 

Last year, a cross-party group of MPs, including Bath MP Wera Hobhouse, called on the Chancellor to reconsider changes to a scheme which many believe transformed the small brewing sector in the UK. 

The letter was signed by 103 MPs, and argued that making changes to Small Breweries’ Relief (SMR) would put a great British success story under threat at a time when many businesses have struggled to survive. Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has reiterated these calls in a letter to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review. 

In his budget, the Chancellor has proposed reducing the threshold for the 50% rate in beer duty from 5,000hl to 2,100hl which could mean that over 150 small breweries across the country may have to pay up to £44,000 extra in beer duty every year. It’s thought that the proposals will hamstring small breweries. 

Partnered with The Society Independent Brewers (SIBA), Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has written to the Chancellor ahead of the budget urging him to reconsider HM Treasury’s proposed reforms to the SBR. 

The Treasury’s own figures show that 73% of small brewers are content with SBR and 72% do not believe that those over 2,500hl should receive less relief. 

SIBA is worried that the changes proposed by the Government to SBR will directly threaten around 150 small independent breweries and could result in a small brewer having to contribute up to £44,000 extra per year to the Treasury, putting jobs and their recovery from the pandemic at risk. 

In Bath, Electric Bear has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic and the proposed changes to the Small Breweries Relief is potentially very damaging. 

Talking in support of SIBA’s campaign to back small breweries at the budget, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse commented: 

“We have many excellent breweries in Bath and across the UK. Our small breweries contribute both economically and socially to the city of Bath and they form a key part of our business community.  It’s important that we support small businesses especially after the huge impact of the pandemic. 

“The Government’s proposals risk slapping small breweries with an extra bill every year, stifling their growth. This will be hugely damaging to their business and represents a reverse Robin Hood.” 

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