Rona Mackay MSP and the office of Amy Callaghan MP for East Dunbartonshire have written to George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to express their grave concern over the proposed changes to the Small Brewers Duty Relief.
The UK Government recently announced their intention to reform the Small Brewer Relief (SBR), a discount on beer duty of 50% to brewers producing under 5,000 hectolitres with relief graded up to 60,000 hectolitres.
The UK Government has proposed to reduce the 50% duty threshold from 5,000 hectolitres to 2,100 hectolitres, considerably increasing the tax burden on small brewers.
This relief, introduced in 2002, has been credited for contributing to the significant expansion of micro and craft breweries in Scotland, including the successful Jaw Brew in East Dunbartonshire.
In a joint letter to the Secretary of State, the East Dunbartonshire parliamentarians have urged the UK Government to think again and consider the impact this will have on a large number of small businesses in a highly successful sector of Scottish industry.
“It is hard to understand why the UK Government is considering this action given the current circumstances. Businesses, and especially small businesses, need our help more than ever right now.
“A reduction of this scale in the Small Brewer Relief will hit small businesses hard. For those able to cope with the increase in tax, this will surely disincentivise small brewers from expanding their operations, which will have a knock-on effect for much-needed local employment.
“Jaw Brew is a great example of a thriving family business and small local brewer, with a commendable focus on sustainability and circular production. Businesses like Jaw Brew should be supported to grow, not confined to smaller margins.”
Commenting, Jaw Brew Co-Founder and Brewer Mark Hazell said: “I am very happy to have support from my local representatives and I hope that the Secretary of State will pay heed to their message.” ENDS