|From Great British Beer Festival 2009|
“Hypothermia has become a smoking-related disease under this Government”.
That was a quote from Nigel Evans MP (pictured above at the Great British Beer Festival last year), Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Beer Group and taken from Hansard 23 February, the Westminster Hall Debate on the Future of the British Pub which he secured.
- Pub prices used to be twice those of supermarkets, but they are now much greater-sometimes seven times as much-with aggressive pricing by the supermarkets.
- An 11-gallon barrel of Fosters costs £127 from Heineken, but from a wholesaler it would cost £92.
- Cask ales-nine or 10 gallons-cost £96 from Heineken, or £55 from a wholesaler.
- On average pubs inject about £80,000 a year into the local community.
- On average a pub pays £107,000 in taxes
- Over half a million people are employed in pubs
- 380,000 people are employed in associated industries
- Beer taxes have risen 20% since March 2008 with another 2% above inflation expected at the budget this Month.
- Research by Oxford Economics suggests that halting the proposed Budget increase of 2 per cent. above inflation could save 7,500 jobs and the Government tax take would increase.
- Since March 2008, 4,100 pubs have gone bust.
- Beer sales are down 16 million pints a day compared with 1979.
- Turnover on beer in the past 12 months alone is down £650 million.
- Since 1997, beer duty has gone up 14 per cent. in real terms, yet spirits duty is down by 20 per cent.
- Every year, 13.2 million tourists visit pubs in the United Kingdom
According to David Hamilton (Midlothian) (Labour), “The Government have the opportunity to separate draft beer tariffs from those of normal beer where canned beer is involved. It would need a change in the European legislation, but surely all parties can agree across the board that if we change the draft beer position, that would give an edge to all the pubs and clubs that are involved”.
- We need to consider the level of beer duty and the way in which it has risen.
- We want the Minister to tell us that the duty will now be frozen
- We want to see the abolition of the beer duty escalator that has caused so much damage.
- We should consider a lower rate for draught beer, which is something that both all-party parliamentary groups support.
- I should like to explore the possibility of a lower duty for real ale.
- Cask-conditioned ale is more costly to produce, store and serve, so I agree that we should take the fight to Europe.
- We should also consider minimum pricing, which the hon. Member for Selby also champions. However, let me add a note of caution. People talk about putting the level at 50p, but an independent body should assess the level so that responsible drinkers, either at home or in the pub, are not penalised. Such a scheme will help pubs to compete, especially as they offer that uniqueness that we all know about.
“We need to consider live music in pubs. The Live Music Bill is going through the other place, but I ask the Government to review their exemption level of 100 people because it is not sufficient. The Bill stipulates 200 people, which would do more to help pubs as well as encouraging more live music.
- The contribution that brewing and pubs make to our economy is huge-£28 billion a year.
- 13 million visits are made by tourists every single year to pubs.
- One in four of us here in Britain drinks in a pub every week.
- 90 per cent. of all alcoholic drink in Britain is brewed domestically, which is another very positive statistic that was cited by other Members earlier.
- The pub tie needs to be reviewed
- 4,000 pubs have shut since the Budget of 2008
- The Treasury will lose about £250 million in receipts by 2010 if the present rate is maintained.
.................I am afraid that the Government simply do not get it. They do not understand that by looking after the pub industry, they can make more money for the Exchequer, help defend our communities and preserve the glue that holds our society together. Instead, they are trying to turn a nation of quizzers into gamblers, which is simply wrong. It is time to say goodbye to this Government unless they can come up with something far more imaginative, which I do not think will be the case”.