Alcohol duty is an important revenue stream for the Government and as the hon. Member is probably already aware Budget 2009 increased alcohol duty by 2 per cent. The additional revenue raised from the increase in alcohol duty will support the public finances. All alcohol receives the same tax treatment regardless of where it is sold. Under EU tax legislation, it is not possible to provide tax reliefs targeted specifically at helping pubs such as levying a reduced rate of alcohol duty on cask beer or taxing beer sold in supermarkets differently from that sold in a pub. The EU definition of beer does not include a reference to how it is packaged or served. Therefore beer wherever it is sold has to be taxed at the same rate. However, we have introduced a range of measures that will support the British pub. These include:
Enabling pubs to spread payment of this years inflation uprating to business rates over three years;
HMRCs Business Payment Support Service has benefited businesses in the leisure and tourism industry (which includes pubs);
Improved access to finance for small businesses through the introduction of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee; and
Support through low-cost loans and advice on energy efficiency for small and medium enterprises (including many pubs) to make savings on their energy bills.