As a member of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub group I have always campaigned against the beer duty escalator and this year will be no different.
Beer and pubs contribute £21 million to the economy and support almost one million jobs, almost half of them for young people, and the successive increases in prices through the beer duty escalator have harmed the industry with over 7,000 pubs closing over the last six years.
Every year, the beer tax escalator increases the tax on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation, thus adding considerably more pressure on the Great British pub.
I believe that the Chancellor, George Osbourne, should look to differential taxing in order to combat the health concerns raised by binge drinking and to raise money to pay for the consequences that come from it. A tax that is split between on and off licensed premises sales would help save the local pub while at the same time fighting the availability of very low cost alcohol on sale in supermarkets and off licenses throughout the country.
The tax would work by targeting the cheap alcohol sold in the retail industry and leaving the alcohol sold in our pubs and restaurants untouched.
There are various benefits to this approach;
- Less extremely cheap alcohol on sale in shops which will help to reduce binge drinking
- Reduction in binge drinking and alcohol related incidents will save the NHS lots of money
- Protection of jobs in the pub and beer industries through the maintenance of prices
- The brewing industry can continue to thrive and keep on winning international awards
I have always said it is much better to serve alcohol in a controlled environment such as a pub. I hope that George Osborne will listen to the calls and take this step to help protect some of the great pubs we have here in Manchester.
Join the campaign against the beer duty escalator by signing the e-petition here