UK: 70,000 members of public and 202 MPs have called for the Government to scrap plans to increase beer tax.
More than 200 MPs, including 97 Labour backbenchers, are calling on the Government to scrap plans to increase beer tax in next month's budget to help save British pubs.
The MPs, from all political parties, have signed a parliamentary motion (Early Day Motion 10) as a result of the massive grassroots-based "Axe the Beer Tax, Save the Pub" campaign organised by pubs and beer consumers.
More than 70,000 members of the public have joined the campaign and 25,000 people have lobbied their MP on the pubs issue since the campaign began in November last year. An opinion poll by ComRes last month showed that 70% of the British people did not believe the Government was justified in increasing beer tax in next month’s budget during the current economic climate.
The Government set out plans last year to increase beer duty by 2 per cent above inflation in this month’s budget - and by the same amount for the following three years.
Yet in the last 12 months more than 2,000 pubs have closed with the loss of 20,000 jobs. Independent research has shown that 75,000 further jobs are threatened by Government tax increases.
A third of a price of a pint of beer now gets swallowed up in tax - and duty rose by 18 per cent over last year alone.
David Long, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said:
"The fact that more than 200 MPs have joined our campaign is testament to widespread strength that is felt across all parties regarding on the future of British pubs.
"Beer tax was increased by 18 per cent during last year and pubs are now closing at a rate of nearly six every single day.
"Pubs are a fundamental part of our community life and the Government now needs to act to save them from extinction. A good start would be to scrap plans set out 12 months ago in brighter economic times to increase beer tax again."
Mike Benner, chief executive of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) said:
“At a time when everyone is feeling the pinch, the Government should listen to its own MPs and not increase beer tax above inflation in next month’s budget.
“We’re not calling for any handouts, just hands off any further increases in beer tax.
“The Prime Minister recently said that he didn’t want responsible, moderate drinkers to pay more. Scrapping next month’s beer tax would be a truly popular and effective way of turning those words into action.”