Great Heck Brewery


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Response to the Budget

Yesterday’s blog created a lot of interest. It was focused on the beer duty increase. The following is the text of an email I wrote to my MP this morning which contains a response to the whole thing. I’ll post any response I get too.

Dear Nigel,

I’m very disappointed about the increase in beer duty yesterday as you would imagine. The way it was announced was typically misleading as usual. I’ve blogged about it here.

Furthermore I am alarmed that the Chancellor has continued his predecessor’s policy of shooting labour’s fox by announcing tax changes which punish the conservative’s core support, this time Mrs Thatcher’s army of self employed and small company directors. To say that the self employed receive the same benefits as everyone else is fatuous and will only serve to enrage, but who cares? They aren’t going to vote for corbyn.

The trend towards corporatism, coddling of large interests at the expense of the small is all the more alarming as we’re also told that we are to have an industrial policy! God forbid that the market should be allowed to operate.

The brexit vote was partly powered by deep disenchantment that government in the form of the eu saw no natural boundaries to its competence. It is a great shame that our government seems hell bent on mimicking this rather than doing away with it.

It seems that the project is to wind the clock back to 1974 and whilst I’m confident that you personally don’t desire this, and the legions of self employed and small businesses shutting up shop it entails, it appears that Mr Hammond and Mrs May are at best ambivalent.



Denzil Vallance.

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Budget “Announcement”

In today’s budget speech The Chancellor announced, “No change to planned changes in alcohol duties.” You may well have understood this to mean no change in beer duty. In fact, at first I did because the escalator on beer duty has been scrapped, but apparently at some point the government announced that all alcohol duty was to rise in line with inflation. Today HMRC have published this which clarifies the deliberately obtuse language in the announcement.

The sad fact is that the press have been, as they always are, thrown off the scent by this ploy but the upshot is that we need to pass on a rise of about £2 per cask to our customers who will in turn have to increase their prices to their customers. That’s you.

The duty rise affects all deliveries from Monday 13th March 2017 but we will hold the increase in our prices back until 1st April for our free trade customers.

Two talking points come out of this (Apart from the obvious):

  1. The underhand way in which duty increases are announced on budget day. Even trade bodies who campaign on this and are used to this sneaky behaviour take a little while to understand what was really said:
  2. Why must duty changes always be implemented mid-month when the accounting period is monthly? The impact assessment here claims, “Those businesses affected by the duty rate change will incur a negligible one-off cost to update their systems. There are not expected to be any additional on-going costs.” Well, I beg to differ. Not only do we have to update our systems next Monday, we also have to do an extra monthly beer duty return as March will effectively be two months this year. This means an extra stock take and much extra paperwork. Would it kill them to do the budget on the last Wednesday of the month?

So there it is. My decoding of one sentence in the budget speech. “No extra costs?” Sheesh!