Cost of living crisis: Midlothian MP warns of ‘tsunami of layoffs’ if independent breweries go bankrupt


Ahead of an adjournment debate on Tuesday, September 6, Mr. Thompson highlighted the significant challenges facing many small breweries.

These include a local business in his constituency of Midlothian, Stewart Brewing, which has reported a staggering increase of more than 300% in its electricity bills since last year, with much worse forecasts to come in the future. winter course.

The MP warned that rising energy prices are having an indirect impact on the cost of materials that require energy to make, such as cans, while Brexit has also contributed to a shortage of equipment such as CO2 and to the increase in the prices of raw materials such as cereals.

Stewart Brewing has reported a staggering more than 300% increase in its electricity bills since last year, with much worse forecasts to come over the winter. Photo: Stewart Brewery

The growing crisis comes as the sector begins its recovery from the pandemic, with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) reporting an average debt of £30,000 for each small brewer, which they have only just started paying off.

Uncertainty also remains over the future of Small Breweries Relief (SBR), a tax measure that was introduced 20 years ago and has transformed the industry, helping small, independent breweries compete with big players. This relief is currently under review by the UK government.

Mr Thompson said: “The cost of living crisis, sky-high energy bills and the impact of Brexit have combined to create the perfect storm for many small businesses in the UK food and drink sector. , including our small independent breweries.

“Midlothian is fortunate to be home to many fantastic little craft breweries such as Stewart Brewing. Together with local pubs they boost the economy, support livelihoods and help create a sense of community. Lose that would be a terrible loss.

“Small breweries are also creating key jobs in rural areas of the UK. If ‘leveling up’ is more than a slogan, the UK government must protect measures such as the Small Brewers Relief and help small brewers to compete with the big players.

“After the pandemic, many small breweries were already on the verge of survival. They warn that the crisis is now even worse. Immediate action is needed to deal with unsustainable energy bills, otherwise we will see a tsunami of layoffs this winter .

“They need to start with a freeze on energy costs for businesses as well as consumers. They could consider a range of measures such as supporting the installation of green energy-saving technologies and providing much-needed certainty on taxes on alcohol and aid for small brewers.

“It would be madness to hit this important sector when it is down instead of giving it a helping hand.

“Doing nothing will cost far more than providing the support small businesses need now. I urge the UK government to get back to work and start to undo some of the damage they have caused.”

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MP for Midlothian highlights soaring production costs threatening small breweries

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