Our pubs have taken a real battering over the years, consistently being undercut by supermarkets selling alcohol as a loss leader and through the ‘beer duty escalator’.
In just six years there has been a 30% drop in beer sold in pubs as 7,000 pubs have closed forever. Beer supports over 1 million jobs and generates over £21 billion in taxes.
According to CAMRA research, 84% of people believe that a pub is as essential to community life as a shop or post office.
Essentially, this ‘escalator’ was a tax on beer, which had risen 2% above inflation every single year since it was introduced in 2008 by the last Labour Government. That meant that between 2008 and 2013 there had been a 42% rise.
The beer duty escalator proved damaging to brewers across the country and led to increases in beer prices for pub goers. Whilst these price increases were able to be absorbed by the supermarkets, pubs were unable to do this which led to further increases in the difference between a can in the supermarket and a pint in the pub.
Thankfully, last year, the Chancellor cancelled Labour’s planned 3 pence rise due to the escalator, scrapped the escalator, and instead cut duty by a penny a pint. This was the first cut in beer duty since 1959.
This year, I want him to want him to freeze beer duty.
I believe the government should be doing more to encourage safe drinking in pubs, rather than cheap drinking at home.
A recent report commissioned by The Brewers of Europe found that within the EU the UK was responsible for 12% of the total beer consumed, yet paid 43% of the total beer duty collected in the EU. This is clearly unfair, and shows that allowing the tax on beer to rise from March 2014 would only increase this gap between us and our European neighbours.
This is why I, along with 50 other MP’s from eight different parties, signed a Commons motion to ask for a further freeze on beer duty. Freezing the tax will help to safeguard over thousands of jobs across Manchester, 2,000 jobs in pubs across south Manchester and the country and help to reduce the cost of living.
I hope the Chancellor, like last year, listens to local pubs and local brewers like Robinsons and agrees to a further freeze in beer duty.