West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has called on the UK government to rethink proposed changes to tax relief for small brewers, voicing concerns that the UK Treasury is putting the future of Scotland’s small local breweries at risk.
The local SNP MP has written to the UK Treasury on behalf of small craft brewers across Scotland after the Westminster government announced proposals to cut support for its Small Brewers Duty Relief (SBR), reducing the threshold at which the tax relief tapers from 5000 hectolitres (HL) to 2100HL per annum.
The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has warned that the move will result in small breweries across Scotland facing increased financial costs, putting jobs at risk at small local brewers already hit hard by the Coronavirus outbreak.
SNP MPs and the Scottish Government have been leading calls for the UK Treasury to look at alternative proposals which protect the future of Scotland’s small local brewers.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“As West Dunbartonshire’s MP I’m proud to represent and support several excellent small breweries in my constituency including Loch Lomond Brewery and Lennox Brewery.
“Scotland has seen in resurgence in the success of its brewing industry in recent years, and it’s deeply concerning that the UK Treasury may be putting the future of our small local brewers at risk over its proposed changes to tax relief.
“The small brewing industry is worth an estimated £500m in turnover each year to the Scottish economy and supports over 8,000 jobs. It would be deeply irresponsible for the UK government to press ahead with these proposals, threatening this growing industry at the worst possible time amidst the economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19.
“The Small Brewers Duty Relief in its current form is vital in helping Scotland’s smaller craft brewers compete in a marketplace dominated by large and global brewing companies.
“If the UK government doesn’t want to see the success of our small local brewers pushed to the brink of collapse, then it must urgently rethink these proposals and do all it can to support the future of this important industry.”