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Budget brings welcome relief for pubs, but challenges remain for sector

An otherwise uneventful Budget brought with it one very welcome surprise for the pub and bar industry; the much-despised beer duty escalator was scrapped in by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Going a step further, beer duty was also cut by 1p per pint in a symbolic move to recognise the crippling pressure the escalator has placed on the pub sector over the last few years.

Brigid Simmonds of the British Beer and Pub Association praised the move, stating, “This will protect thousands of jobs and allow us to create many more jobs in this brilliant industry.” In fact CAMRA, the campaign for real ale group, predict up to 5000 pubs may be saved following the removal of the escalator, which obliged pint prises to rise by 2 per cent above inflation each year, threatening sales.

Many pubs have already confirmed they will be passing the benefits of this new legislation on to their customers, with Enterprise Inns’ Chief Executive Ted Tuppen admitting, “We hope this budget will encourage communities back into their pubs.”

However, pubs have been warned against seeing this change as a cure-all solution for the challenges facing the sector, particularly since, in contrast to beer, duty on wine, spirits and cider rose in the budget. Bars and pubs are therefore advised to continue doing everything they can to improve other aspects of the pub experience to attract customers, beyond focusing on drink sales alone.

As music supplier to Sound Leisure, the UK’s leading digital jukebox service, Soundnet definitely recognises the importance of keeping pub-goers entertained. Over the years, we’ve heard from countless landlords impressed by the effect a jukebox music system has had on their pub’s ambiance, and in turn cash box levels.

For a service provided on a no rent, profit share basis free from installation and set-up fees, digital jukeboxes really can be one of the simplest ways to create a communal atmosphere and keep customers coming back for more.

To learn more about the innovative features of today’s digital jukeboxes and the Soundnet background music management solution, contact the Soundnet team or take a look at our product pages.

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