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More than 100 MPs sign up in support of scrapping beer duty escalator

By Gurjit Degun , 06-Feb-2013
Last updated on 06-Feb-2013 at 07:51 GMT2013-02-06T07:51:03Z

Andrew Griffiths MP:

Andrew Griffiths MP: "we just need to finally win that argument with the minister"

A petition among MPs calling the beer duty escalator to be scrapped has passed 100 signatures.

The early day motion (EDM) was tabled by Andrew Griffiths MP, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

Taking into account all the EDMs calling for an end to the escalator, Griffiths said this means that more than 185 MPs support the motion.

He was speaking at the launch of the British Beer & Pub Association’s (BBPA) short film highlighting the importance of a beer duty freeze in London last week.

“I think [the EDM] only goes to demonstrate that we have won the argument in Parliament and now we just need to finally win that argument with the minister, with the Chancellor and with the Treasury officials,” said Griffiths.

“You only have to look at the recent figures that show that in the last quarter alone in Britain we drank 138 million fewer pints than the same quarter in the previous year. It shows how damaging this hated beer duty escalator has been for the industry and how important it is for it to be scrapped.”

Griffiths also said that this is the first time he feels optimistic about the Government abolishing the escalator.

“This is the third time I’ve turned up to talk to a Treasury minister about the damage that the beer duty is doing to our pubs and to our brewing industry.

“But it’s the first time that I feel optimistic about the possibilities of success. I do sense that there is a sea change and that we are beginning to win the argument.”

He pointed to the work that has been done by the BBPA, the Society of Independent Brewers and the Campaign for Real Ale.

On asking the Prime Minister if he would consider asking the Chancellor to scrap the tax early last week, Griffiths said: “The Prime Minister said to me that he had a plan for Britain’s pubs and brewers. I am hoping that plan includes scrapping the beer duty escalator.

“We have just a few more days, one last push, one last heave, to get us over that finishing line and I am absolutely convinced that we are able do it. Gird your loins, have a pint for Dutch courage and get in there. Let’s convince the minister and chancellor, and let’s get this beer duty escalator scrapped.”