British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that Brexit is working because people can get cheaper beer, despite price increases and a record closure of pubs.
En route to the G7 summit in Japan yesterday, the Prime Minister insisted to journalists that Brexit had proven a success, reports The Manc.
Pointing to measures like beer duty reforms, cutting VAT on sanitary products and freeports, despite a record closure of hospitality businesses in the past few years he insisted the reform of beer duty was one of the government’s major Brexit successes – and even promised that beer would be cheaper this summer.
Rejecting claims from the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage that Brexit had failed under the Tories, he said: “We cut VAT on sanitary products. This summer you will be able to get cheaper beer in pubs.
“These are all very tangible benefits of Brexit that I’ve already delivered.”
The comments from the Prime Minister come despite a recent survey by The Independent showing that the number of hospitality venue closures soars six-fold in a year, and were triggered by EU staff shortages.
According to the paper’s findings, ‘Brexit is killing the hospitality industry’ with the net closures of 4,600 pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants in the year to 31 March 2023 amounting to an average of 12.6 closures in a day.
These figures compare to 678 closures in the year to March 2022. More than 10% of the UK’s hospitality businesses closed permanently in the year following the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
In spite of this, yesterday the Prime Minister told journalists: “Economic optimism is increasing, consumer confidence is increasing, growth estimates are being raised,” adding that official figures for household disposable income growth were now “hugely” better than predicted.
This follows comments from the Bank of England chief Huw Pill last month that people should accept being poorer and stop asking for pay rises.
The Prime Minister continued: “I introduced freeports – a Brexit benefit around the country attracting jobs and investment to lots of different places.”
“We cut VAT on sanitary products, we reformed the alcohol duties that mean this summer you will be able to get cheaper beer in pubs. These are all very tangible benefits of Brexit that I’ve already delivered.”
He also said that two surveys of business leaders were showing “enormous confidence” in the UK.
“That’s what’s actually happening with the economy, that’s what global CEOs who actually have the money and are making investment decisions are saying,” he said.
Featured image – Number 10 Downing Street (via Flickr)