Pubs play a crucial role in the social and economic life of our nation, as well in helping to promote responsible drinking, which is why I am encouraged by the support which has made available to pubs and our manifesto commitment to further cut taxes for small businesses.
I welcome the new measures put in place to help businesses across the country, particularly pubs. It is reassuring that no pub or other business in the hospitality sector will be required to pay business rates this year. Local authorities will apply the rates relief automatically and no action is required by pub rate payers.
Pubs have also received cash grants of up to £25,000 to cover the loss of trade during lockdown.
I also welcome the temporary cut to VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for all food and non-alcoholic drinks, which applies from 15 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. This will continue to support restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises across the UK.
Any decision to modify alcohol duty in the future is a matter for the Treasury. There is a broad recognition of the need to reform the current duty system to support the alcoholic drinks and pubs sector in the longer term, and a call for evidence is due to be published before the end of this year.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.