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Independent breweries under pressure as National Insurance and cost of living rise

BY Phoebe Morton

As National Insurance contributions rise and living costs increase, The Society of Independent Brewers predict that this year would see a mass closure of UK breweries.

From the 6th April 2022, national insurance contributions increased by 1.25 percentage points.

James Calder, Chief Executive of The Society of Independent Brewers said: “Rising costs combined with Covid debt repayments mean businesses are facing financial ruin and an uncertain future, with many unlikely to survive until the Autumn budget.”

Ministers claim the National Insurance rise will go towards boosting health and social care and easing the burden on the NHS.

Mark Costello, owner of Horsforth Brewery, has already made staff cuts to keep afloat due to the pandemic.

On the National Insurance increase, Costello said: “I think it’s fair that there is an increase in some sort of taxation or levy to pay for the NHS, whether people like us should be paying for it, I’m not sure.”

Owners and employees at small independent breweries are worried about the rising costs.

Costello said: “People like us, you know, we’re getting by and something like this just makes it that little bit more difficult to get by.”

The National Insurance increase coincides with massive rises in the cost of living.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, real livings standards are predicted to fall by 2.2 per cent in 2022/23; this will be their largest financial year fall recorded.

Due to the increase of the energy price cap, costs will rise for around 18 million households by £693 pounds a year.

Diesel prices have twice reached record highs in 2022, now at £1.80 a litre, made worse by the Ukraine Russia conflict.

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