Recently I have received a number of correspondence from constituents asking if I could speak in support of British pubs in Parliament at a Backbench Business debate on beer taxation and pubs on Thursday 7 February.
As Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Beer Group, I see it as both a duty and a privilege to be able to speak up regularly for pubs and breweries across the UK, including St Austell Brewery, an important local business and jobs creator.
In October I wrote to the Chancellor urging him to announce a review of Small Brewers Relief in the Budget in order to make the system fairer, encourage growth at all stages of a brewer’s business development, boost exports and provide better value for money for the taxpayer while saving the British pint as we know it.
I am glad that the Chancellor announced that he will be freezing beer, cider and spirits duty for another year, supporting patrons of the Great British Pub and saving people 2p on a pint of beer and 30p on a bottle of Scotch or gin.
But I also agree that the current businesses rates system is out of date and is particularly unfair to pub. I have been pressing the Government to reform business rates since I was elected in 2015.
On this occasion, as much as I would like to represent the views of constituents at the debate on Thursday, I regret to inform them that due to other parliamentary commitments on the day I will not be able to be able to do so.