Small breweries, like the award-winning Loose Cannon Brewery in Abingdon, play a crucial role in their community, but they are at serious risk.

The Conservative Government has set out plans to increase taxes on small brewers, by taking money out of the Small Breweries Relief Fund.

This fund has helped dozens of small breweries to get off the ground in recent years and has helped improve variety and choice in the drinks market.

In the middle of the coronavirus crisis, this puts them at serious risk. Sales by the UK’s 2,000 small brewers, which had been growing strongly, dropped by 82 per cent during lockdown, according to the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

At a time when small businesses need support, the Conservatives are planning to make small breweries pay significantly more in tax. Many are now worried about their survival.

Small brewers are set to lose out badly from these reforms. This could devastate the industry locally and nationally and reduce competition in the market and choice for consumers.

The bigger breweries will be able to survive these changes, while smaller ones may not.

The changes the Government has proposed could lead to smaller breweries being penalised and discourage others from starting up. This would give large brewers an unfair advantage.

I’ll be frank, alongside all the reasons I’ve listed, having more small breweries means it’s easier to get a good pint.

Despite a general contraction in the pub industry in recent years, the increased choice of craft and real ales from an expanding market of small breweries has been one of the successes.

This is demonstrated in many of our local pubs.

For this trend to continue, creative smaller businesses need to be supported through these hard times.

I have written to the Chancellor opposing his plan.

I believe that the Government should be doing everything it can to help small businesses survive the coronavirus crisis, not make things worse for them.

Small businesses can and should be at the heart of the recovery from the virus, but they need support for that to happen.

Many of us do our best to shop locally, and I encourage readers to do the same to keep our local economy thriving.

I hope the Chancellor and Conservative Government will reconsider their plans, and instead join many of us in supporting the survival and success of local breweries and small businesses.