CHANTRY Brewery could be forced to close if the Government pushes on with scrapping small breweries relief.
Ex-pubs minister John Healey has backed the Parkgate beer firm — calling for the tax break he introduced to remain.
Chantry co-founder Mick Warburton said: “The relief enabled the three of us — two ex-steelworkers and one redundant banker — to invest and grow our brewery and create 20 jobs, employing some people who were made redundant at the steelworks.
“It has enabled us to compete with global producers which dominate the marketplace and also give the consumer a choice.
“If the relief is cut, as proposed, we will have to stop further planned investment and cut jobs. It may ultimately mean the closure of the brewery. We cannot compete with the global buying power of the major breweries.”
Mr Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, brought in the tax break when he was economic secretary to the treasury in 2002.
It means brewers producing up to 5,000 hectolitres a year — about 900,000 pints — get a 50 per cent reduction in the duty they pay. Above this is a sliding scale, up to the global brewers who pay 100 per cent.
Government consultation on the matter has been delayed, leaving small businesses already hit by the coronavirus pandemic fearing for their future.
Mr Healey said: “The Government is bowing to big breweries with these changes. They’re giving money to big business by taking it away from small independents. Small breweries tax relief has been the single biggest support for new local breweries and we’ve seen huge innovation and growth since Labour introduced it almost 20 years ago.
“The Government needs to scrap cuts to small breweries relief and support our small brewers.”
The Society of Independent Brewers say small breweries employ 6,000 people and contribute £270 million a year to GDP. Their petition against the changes has attracted 43,000 signatures.
Mr Healey has written to Kemi Badenoch, exchequer secretary to the treasury, calling for the Government to abandon plans to lower the threshold for the relief.