A LETTER signed by 68 Conservative MPs is imploring the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to cut beer duty in his upcoming budget statement on Wednesday.

The initiative was driven by Conservative MPs, including Barrow & Furness MP Simon Fell, who support the Long Live The Local Beer Campaign.

It follows calls from the beer and pub sector for increased support from the Chancellor following the announcement of the Prime Minister’s roadmap to reopening, which states that pubs will not be able to fully open inside and outside without trading restrictions until mid-June at the earliest.

Mr Fell said: “Pubs are at the heart of communities across Barrow and Furness, but with them bearing a disproportionate burden as a result of the pandemic the Government should consider a cut to beer tax.

"I’m supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax at this year’s Budget to support pubs in our local communities.”

The British Beer & Pub Association has said the very cautious reopening of pubs will cost the sector £1.5 billion in lost trade in April alone, as three in five pubs will not be able to open or be viable with outside service only.

The UK pays £3.6 billion in Beer Duty each year - more than Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands & Ireland combined. At present, £1 in every £3 spent in a pub goes to HM Treasury in a range of taxes including Beer Duty.

To date, more than 500,000 people have signed the Long Live The Local petition calling on The Government to cut Beer Duty. More than 275,000 people have also written to their local MP asking them to urge the Chancellor to cut Beer Duty.