Economics Minister Philip Hammond has spoken for the first time about his plans for the UK government’s budget throughout 2017.
In accordance with the Conservatives plans to unfreeze alcohol prices across the UK, all prices will now rise by 3.9% until 2019 in line with RPI inflation.
While this means only an additional 23p cost on pints of regular strength beers and ciders, gin and whisky will be hit the hardest with a 32p rise on a single 35cl bottle.
This rise could spell potential doom for bar’s in Chester like Commonhall Social, who naturally rely on lower price tariff’s for their imports.
Joe Dunn, manager of Commonhall Social explained that people are starting to notice price rise. “It’s not changed things dramatically, but more and more people seem to be asking about pricing.”
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has stated that this new budget rise will cost retailers around £125 million if it stays in place.
“Beer tax has now risen by 43 per cent the past ten years. This latest rise will mean 4,000 fewer jobs this year, mostly in pubs”, stated Brigid Simmonds, head executive of the BBPA after the budget was confirmed.
Pubs being forced to close like the Victory Ship, Mockingbird Taproom and Black Lion are examples within Chester of a slowly declining business, in wake of these fresh cuts.
However, Adam Parker, owner of the Dublin Packet said “It wouldn’t really affect my business. I don’t think it’ll effect our regulars, they’ll moan for a bit, but still show at the end of the day.”
Philip Hammond has also announced a pub-specific lease on business rates, he pledged that all pubs with a value of less than £100,000 will receive a £1,000 rate discount – but only for the first year.
The pub industry is vital to Chester due to its well-renowned tourist nature and losses in this sector would mean knockbacks to other parts of business (such as tourism, imports/exports, food and supermarkets)
By Matthew Dawson
Edited by Evie Kennedy