23 March 2011
A unique survey released this month to oppose government plans for a seven per cent hike on beer tax proves how big a player the pub industry is in Southwark’s economy.
According to the survey, the industry adds £124.4 million to the economy in Southwark, which is the fifth highest in London. Only the boroughs of Islington: £143.7 million, the City of London: £188.1 million, Camden: £210.9 million and Westminster with a whopping £465.3 million add more to their local economies.
The results of this huge new survey were released before the coalition government’s budget this week, to show the industry’s impact on jobs, wages, and the economy at large.
The figures form a comprehensive study by economy experts Oxford Economics for the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). This is the UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector. Its members account for 96 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and own nearly two thirds of Britain’s 52,500 pubs.
The survey shows that alongside Greenwich and Westminster, Southwark has the most breweries, with three sites across the borough. It has the fourth highest in London for pubs, with 242 in total, just below Camden with 265, Islington 267 and Westminster with 427. Three thousand, eight hundred people are employed in the industry in Southwark (fifth highest in London) and the industry pays £78.3 million in wages locally.
The £124.4 million figure for Southwark is the gross value added - this is the total amount of economic activity, in pounds, that the industry adds to the local economy.
The BBPA argues that with so many local jobs depending on the trade in every community in Britain, the government must think again about plans for a huge, seven per cent rise in beer tax in the budget next week, which would damage the local economy and cause more local pubs to close.
BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds, OBE, said: “These figures show what a huge impact beer and pubs have, especially in terms of local jobs. Beer is vital to the economy and pubs are the heart of our communities.
The last thing local pubs and pubgoers need is a further beer tax hike in the budget next week, when instead we could be leading the economy out of recession and creating local jobs. The government needs to think again.”
The survey is unique as it has information for every council area in Britain and every parliamentary constituency. MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark Simon Hughes tops the poll locally for the most pubs in his area. This senior Liberal Democrat’s constituency has two breweries, 153 pubs, employing 2,052 people, with wages of £34.8 million and brings £61.4 to the local economy.
However, while Labour’s Harriet Harman MP, representing Camberwell and Peckham, has the second highest amount of pubs with 75, it does not have a brewery.
Her colleague, MP Tessa Jowell, representing Dulwich and West Norwood, might have fewer pubs with 52, but her constituency is home to one brewery, and employs 1,173 as opposed to 1,028 in Camberwell and Peckham, with wages of £25.2 million and £23.8 million respectively. So while Dulwich and West Norwood contributes £40.8 million to the local economy, £37.3 million is contributed in Camberwell and Peckham.
The BBPA has been urging local residents to support the campaign for a freeze in beer tax in the budget via the website www.backthepub.com, and has been urging MP to support a motion in Parliament, Early Day Motion 1475, that backs the industry’s concerns. So far none of three MP have signed up to the motion although 113 of the 649 MPs in Parliament.
Southwark place in the beer stakes of London
Westminster - 427
Islington - 267
Camden - 265
Lambeth - 200
Lewisham - 108
Staff employed (5th):
Westminster - 14,343
Camden - 6,561
City of London - 5,052
Islington - 4,328
Lambeth - 3,455
Lewisham - 1,342
Wages Paid (5th):
Westminster - £290.6 million
Camden - £133.5 million
City of London - £112.4 million
Isington - £86.5 million
SOUTHWARK - £78.3 million
Lambeth - £64.6 million
Greenwich- £37 million
Lewisham - £26.2 million
Contribution to local economy (5th):
Westminster - £465.3 million
Camden - £210.9 million
City of London - £188.1 million
Isington - £143.7 million
Lambeth - £109.6 million
Greenwich- £61.7 million
Lewisham - £42.6 million
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