Taxation – non-devolved

The beer and pub sector is extremely important to the Scottish economy, supporting over 60,000 jobs and contributing £1.6 billion to the Scottish economy annually. There are around 4,900 pubs and over 80 breweries in Scotland at the moment and beer duty represents a significant cost on all of these businesses. The sector pays nearly £1 billion in taxation in Scotland. For more detailed information visit

Between 2008 and 2013, the beer duty escalator, which increased beer duty automatically by 2% above inflation each year, hugely damaged the beer and pub industry. Tax on beer rose by over 40%, with over a third of the price of a pint going straight to the taxman. Over 7,000 pubs closed and 58,000 jobs in the beer and pub industry were lost, UK wide.

Although beer duty is not a devolved issue, this remains a key campaign. The unprecedented 2013, 2014 and 2015 Budgets recognised the unique economic and social value of beer and pubs with an unprecedented hat-trick of beer duty cuts. These moves secured thousands of jobs in the sector and boosted investment in pubs across the UK by hundreds of millions of pounds. Beer price increases in pubs are at their lowest since the 1980s.

However, after years of above inflation duty increases, beer is still overtaxed. In 2013 the UK paid almost 40% of all EU beer duty but only consumed 12% of the beer. Even with the recent duty cuts, the industry is under severe pressure. Any future tax increases will curtail renewed ambition, damage jobs and inhibit investment in manufacturing and skills. We want beer to remain affordable for Scotland’s pub goers and to continue to remain a key driver for jobs and growth in the Scottish economy.

Further information on our campaigning work on beer duty can be found on the BBPA website here.