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How much do Gravesham’s pubs contribute to the economy and what does the Autumn Budget mean for them?

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 October 2018

The UK's pub industry could take a hit if the chancellor raises beer duty in the Autumn Budget. Photo: PA

The UK's pub industry could take a hit if the chancellor raises beer duty in the Autumn Budget. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

The pub industry in Gravesham, worth around £26million, could take a hit if beer duty is raised as expected nin the chancellor’s budget later today (Tuesday, October 16), Britain’s Beer Alliance has warned.

Tax on beer is expected to rise by 3.4pc in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, delivered on Tuesday.

With consumers increasingly opting for cheaper supermarket drinks and pub margins stretched, local establishments are braced for further struggles.

Gravesham’s 77 pubs and bars employ 876 people directly, paying them £6.9 million in wages, new analysis from Oxford Economics shows.

They also support another 217 jobs and £4.6 million in wages indirectly, either through related jobs, like those in the supply chain, or through the money spent by people working in the pub industry.

In total, through salaries and spending power, the area’s pubs contribute £23 million to the local and national economy, the analysis shows.

There are 6,111 pubs across the South East, adding £2.5 billion to the economy.

Across the UK, 3.2 pubs have closed on average every day over the last two years.

If that trend continues, Britain’s Beer Alliance, an umbrella organisation for major brewers and pub companies, says one in ten pubs nationwide could close within five years.

It would mean a significant loss to the estimated £18 billion pub industry, which supports around 800,000 jobs.

David Cunningham, programme director of Britain’s Beer Alliance, said: “Pubs are the heart and soul of our culture and communities, they support many jobs, contribute significantly to the economy and are dear to people’s hearts right across the country.

“Pubs already face a range of tax pressures and if the Chancellor raises beer duty in line with Retail Price Index inflation as planned on October 29, pubs will feel the pinch even more. Seven in every 10 alcoholic drinks sold in a pub is beer, so it’s easy to see how a small tax increase adds up over a year.

“Based on current closure rates, we estimate that within five years more than one in 10 pubs in the UK will have closed for good, costing thousands of jobs. This will have a devastating effect on communities up and down the UK.”

There are two breweries in Gravesham, supporting 38 jobs and adding £896,000 to the economy, according to the Oxford Economics analysis.

Altogether, the local pub, brewery and beer trade in Gravesham adds £26 million to the economy , it says.

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