Wednesday 12 December 2012

The elephant in the room

Today CAMRA is holding a mass lobby of parliament to protest about the Beer Duty Escalator, a revenue raising device brought in by Al Darling when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and continued by Osborne as the present incumbent. Every year this adds 2% + inflation to the cost of beer and since 2008 has seen the price of a pint rise by 40%.

And the result of this is, CAMRA press release below:
3 million fewer UK adults visit the pub on a regular basis as beer duty escalator takes its toll

CAMRA organises its biggest ever campaigning event as over 1,200 members descend upon Parliament

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today (December 12th) organised the biggest campaigning event in its 40 year history as over 1,200 of its members – as well as other members of the beer and pub industry - descend upon Parliament for a Mass Lobby, calling for an end to the damaging beer duty escalator.

Members of the organisation have travelled from across the UK to speak to their MP as new figures show that since the beer duty escalator – a policy causing duty on beer to automatically increase by 2% above inflation every year - was introduced in 2008, the number of regular pub goers* in the UK has declined by a staggering 3 million people. During this period, over 5,800 pubs have been forced to close their doors.

Since 2008, tax on beer has increased by more than 40%, with over a third of every pint pulled in a pub now paid in duty and VAT. The nation’s beer drinkers have to endure one of the highest rates of tax on their pint in Europe, and a 106,000 signature Government e-petition has already forced a Parliamentary debate on the issue, calling on the escalator to be scrapped.

Over 400 MPs will be lobbied by CAMRA members throughout today, and Colin Valentine, CAMRA National Chairman, said:

‘Over the past 40 years there have been few threats to the UK pub industry as severe as the beer duty escalator, which is why so many of our members from across the country have travelled to Westminster to participate in today’s Lobby.

‘Even after a Government e-petition reaching 100,000 signatures, and a Parliamentary debate where MPs present unanimously backed a review of the beer duty escalator, the Government do not appear to have woken up to the crippling social and economic impact their actions are having on valued community pubs.

‘With the nation’s pub closure rate back on the increase, what the Government should be doing is looking at ways to alleviate the burden on struggling pubs, and further recognise their importance as community assets. Such a huge decline in the number of regular pub goers, as seen with today’s figures, is a critical reminder that change needs to happen fast to prevent irreparable damage to community life in the UK, and to save the nation’s proud pub going heritage from being taxed into oblivion.’

CAMRA’s Mass Parliamentary Lobby takes place on Wednesday December 12th from 11am, with its members convening at the Emmanuel Centre. At 4pm a Rally will take place at the Emmanuel Centre with leading MPs due to speak. More information here.
Demo and interview with Mike Benner should be on the BBC iplayer later - link here

Now just out of interest can anyone think of a piece of legislation enacted in say 2007 that may have caused 3 million fewer adults to visit the pub? Answers please to CAMRA.

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