SMALL and medium breweries from across York and North and East Yorkshire have signed a letter to the Chancellor, protesting at proposed tax changes.

The letter to Rishi Sunak from the Campaign for Pubs says they are ‘utterly dismayed’ that he intends to alter the ‘Small Brewers Relief’ by changing the level at which it starts tapering off.

It says the relief was intended as a progressive measure to level up the wholesale beer market and promote brewery growth but this change would do the opposite.

It claims a number of small breweries will end up shouldering an increased tax burden, which would have a ‘devastating’ effect.

“For the Government to have announced this now, as these same breweries have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, is staggering and flies in the face of claims that the Government is committed to helping smaller businesses survive,” it says.

It claims most small breweries have already missed out on Government support offered to their counterparts in hospitality and the decision will almost certainly lead to the loss of jobs and breweries.

“Small breweries are part of our national fabric and play a vital role in the economy,” it says. “They create more jobs than larger breweries and they pay disproportionately more tax into Treasury coffers than large breweries."

The letter has been signed by a range of local breweries including Bad Seed and Bess Castle of Malton, Half Moon of Ellerton, Brew York in Walmgate, York, Bad Co in Dishforth, Turning Point, formerly of Kirkbymoorside but now of Knaresborough, Treboom of Shipton by Beningbrough, Hop Studio of Elvington, North Riding of Scarborough and Snainton and Ainsty Ales of Acaster Malbis.

A Treasury spokesman said it invested over £65 million per year in craft brewing through Small Brewers Relief.

“We’ve consulted with hundreds of breweries who have told us that the relief was being withdrawn too quickly, and therefore preventing their businesses from growing,” he said.

“To support these small breweries, our proposals will mean that they’ll still benefit from the relief as they gradually expand their businesses, rather than having an all or nothing approach where it’s rapidly withdrawn above a certain level.

“The smallest 80 per cent of breweries will be unaffected by these proposed changes, and we look forward to working with the industry as our consultation progresses.”