MPs to debate crippling beer duty
Pub campaigners, including MP Greg Mulholland, have secured a House of Commons debate on the government’s controvertial beer tax policy, with a view to supporting the ailing industry.
The so-called escalator tax, in which the annual duty on beer automatically increases by 2% above the rate of inflation, is proving damaging to the industry, campaigners say.
Implementation of the escalator has seen tax on beer rise by 42% since its introduction in March 2008. Pubs, forced to raise prices, have been hit hardest.
"The escalator is hugely damaging to brewers and, whereas supermarkets can absorb the increase in the price of beer, pubs simply cannot.” said Lib Dem Mr Mullholland.
New alternatives to taxation in the brewing and pub trade could provide a real boon to the sector.
Insolvency trade body R3 recently claimed that up to 35 per cent of pubs could face closure over the next year, with would-be customers turning to discounted supermarket drinks.
Richard Matthews , of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), stressed the role pubs play within the local economy.
“Duty and VAT on beer costs the typical pub around £66,000 per year, and tax is now on average over a pound a pint. We have seen huge increases in our tax burden, and any further rises are just not sustainable."
“We want to be creating more local jobs and wealth, which is certainly possible without excessive taxation. We are hoping that local MPs will heed local concerns, attend this important debate and support our local pub trade by voting for a review of the beer duty escalator,” he said.
The debate is tabled for Thursday, November 1, 2012.