In support of a pint down the local

With Wychwood's Hobgoblin last week at the Save the Pub Parliamentary Event. No jokes about who's who!

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 

The e-petition is hosted by Wychwood you can read more about the campaign here.

3 responses to “In support of a pint down the local

  1. It is not the duty that is the problem. Pubs such as the Crown under the railway bribge in Stockport are able to sell micro brewery beer at reasonable prices. It is the multinational companies keeping prices up and town center pubs making excessive profits.

  2. All the points made for a differential taxing system are clear and valid, they make perfect sense and it seems a straightforward way to tackle most of the problem. The rest of the problem is chain bars selling cheap ‘barcode’ alcohol but this could probably be addressed by enforcing existing laws or licensing regulations more robustly.
    The value of traditional pubs as social spaces should be considered as a benefit too, the wider benefits for community groups and activities are all too often overlooked in economic appraisals.

  3. The on-going problems with the pub industry and the subsequent closure of our beloved locals can be associated with two major problem areas. The first is the breweries code of conduct. The breweries have had years to address problems which especially concern tied tenancies and leases. So far, successive Governments have allowed breweries to self regulate meaning they can charge landlords excessive rents and cost of product with impunity. This makes it difficult for tied tenants and lea-sees to compete on price with managed or free-trade houses.
    The second problem is Government. In January 2012 a debate was held in the House of Commons concerning the brewery code of practice. The chairman of the Business Select Committee said that breweries had been given more than enough time to self-regulate – there have been seven reports and four BIS Select Committee inquiries – but satisfactory action has not been taken by the Government. Under the Freedom of Information Act, requests were submitted by the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group. They revealed that the Governments own response to the BIS Select Committee report largely replicated the response of industry representative the British Beer and Pub Association, with some sections even copied word for word. In one part of the report the Government even make the same typing errors as the BBPA. Draw your own conclusions on that one!
    Rateable value of Pubs is also a huge drain on an already squeezed section of the hospitality industry.
    In conclusion, i would suggest that the Government steps in as soon as possible to save Tied Tenancy Pubs and stop breweries bankrupting individuals who make a worthwhile contribution to the economy. Our industry employs several million people, often the under 25’s and is the only major industry which does not seem to be regulated. We need to be able to compete on price with managed, free-trade, retail agreement and supermarkets. Tenants are often too afraid of what will happen to them if they speak out against their brewery. There’s a lot to lose when you consider your home, friends and business, not to mention becoming ostresised in the business, but unless individuals do speak up, nothing will ever change for the better.

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