Budget winners: beer and bingo

Cheers: Ronnie Fitzpatrick
Cheers: Ronnie Fitzpatrick
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Tax cuts announced by George Osbourne benefit leisure industries and beer drinkers

​Beer drinkers, bingo lovers and savers in Lancashire are all better off after George Osbourne’s budget announcements.

The Chancellor delighted the licensed trade with a 1p ​​cut in the price of a pint of beer, bringing cheer to workers and customers.

He also gave a much-needed lift to bingo halls, by cutting bingo tax to 10p – while raising the tax on fixed-odds betting machines to 25 per cent.

Moorhouse’s Brewery boss David Grant welcomed the Chancellor’s move on beer.

He said: “I hope he continues to do this and I will raise a beer to him tonight as this is a move in the right direction to help the industry.”

But he warned: “The 1p a pint cut doesn’t necessarily translate to the price of a pint in a pub, so we shouldn’t expect too much – but it will help to keep costs down for brewers and publicans.”

He also welcomed the freeze on fuel duty, business rates discounts for High Street shops in some areas, and the halving of tax for bingo halls.

Ronnie Fitzpatrick, landlord of the Olde Dog and Partridge, Friargate, Preston, said although it was a welcome move, drinkers were unlikely to see any drastic benefits.

He added: “This is around the time the breweries put their prices up, so I’m a bit disappointed he didn’t do more for us really.”

Miles Baron, chief executive of The Bingo Association, said the bingo tax move was a welcome boost to the industry​.

He said: “Bingo operators identified a programme of investment that would be freed up by a five per cent reduction.

“Now we have secured a 10 per cent reduction, operators will be re-looking at their investment and modernisation plans to stimulate the industry. Bingo fans across the country will be celebrating today!”​ ​

The Chancellor also raised the amount people can earn before tax to £10,500 – and introduced enhanced ISAs and “pensioner bonds”.

Mark Schofield, of Haworths Chartered Accountants, said the changes to pensions were “radical to say the least” and could only encourage more use of pension schemes.

The Federation of Small Businesses ​said it was encouraged by improved growth forecasts and measures aimed at stimulating the economy.