Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Greg Mulholland MP, has welcomed today's announcement by the Chancellor in the budget statement of the scrapping of the unfair beer duty escalator and a 1p reduction in beer duty. Mulholland has been at the forefront of the campaign to see the escalator scrapped including securing a Parliamentary debate on the issue on the back of the e-petition that now has over 100,000 signatures, as well as meeting with the Treasury Minister responsible, Sajid Javid, on a number of occasions to discuss the issue, including just last week.
The beer duty escalator is an increase in tax on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation introduced in 2008 and in place until 2014/15. As a result, tax on beer has gone up by over 40% since 2008.
The beer duty escalator has proven damaging to brewers across the country and led to increases in beer prices. These price increases are absorbed by the supermarkets, however, pubs are simply unable to do this which can further increase the difference between a can in the supermarket and a pint in the pub and figures clearly show that people are now being put off by the price of beer in some pubs.
Greg has also previously called on the Minister to insist on a guarantee from the big pub owning companies that if, as we hope, the beer duty escalator is scrapped, that they pass this on and lower prices to their tenants so that this extra revenue is passed on to licensees and to pub customers and not simply into the pockets of the large pub companies to service their unsustainable debt levels.
"Following all the hard work by so many groups, including CAMRA, to see the beer duty escalator scrapped in the 2013 budget, I am absolutely delighted that the Chancellor, George Osborne has today listened to the arguments against this unfair tax and brought it to an early end and reduced beer duty by 1p. This will be a boost to claims of being a pro pub Government.
"It has been evident to see that as a result of the reduced duty under the Small Breweries Relief we now have a thriving brewing industry, with over 1,000 breweries in the UK, the most the UK has seen for over 70 years. This clearly shows that lower duty leads to growth, investment and jobs in the brewing sector and I am delighted that the chancellor has today made a vote of confidence in Britain's breweries.
"It is also good news for pubs, as supermarkets were able to absorb the increase in the price of beer, pubs were simply not able to and this was further increasing the difference between a can in the supermarket and a pint in the pub, which is a controlled and sociable environment. So I am delighted that it has today being brought to an end.
"It is now essential that the benefit of scrapping the escalator are passed on to pubs, so we now want to hear from all the large pub owning companies that they pass this on to licensees by looking at their own prices lists which will help publicans and help pub customers".