AN MP is urging Government to rethink how many litres a small brewery can produce before it is taxed at the higher rate – to help protect small businesses and jobs.

Shipley MP Philip Davies wants proposals to reduce the threshold from 5,000 hectolitres or about 900,000 to less than half dropped to help the already struggling industry. He is among a group of MPs piling pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to look at the Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR).

Mr Davies said: “Our small independent brewers are a real success story, and the support provided through Small Breweries’ Relief is key to their future. These businesses have been severely impacted by the Covid pandemic and now is not the time to be making changes to this scheme.

“Now is not the time to be hitting businesses with more taxes, especially an industry hit by continued arbitrary lockdown and rules. We all saw the reports of beer being poured away, cutting the number of hectolitres small breweries can produce before paying higher rate tax would be another kick in the teeth for the industry.”

As it stands those producing up to 5,000 hectolitres pay 50 per cent of the full duty rate. Above 5,000hl, brewers pay beer duty on a sliding scale, up to the same 100 per cent rate paid by the largest, multinational corporates.

If changes are introduced it is feared more than 150 small breweries will have to pay more tax but larger businesses will pay the same or less tax. Changes would come into force in 2022.