Griffiths pointed out the value of community pubs to local areas, for example providing sponsorship for sports teams, providing employment and giving communities a place to “come together”.
He said that the escalator has “increased beer duty by a crippling 42%” since it was introduced in 2008. Griffiths also quoted the Campaign for Real Ale’s figures released today that said that 18 pubs are closing each week.
He said: “The point of an escalator is to stop when you get to the top. We are in danger of going over a cliff here.”
Griffiths pointed out the difference in duty between cider and beer, which have a 50p difference. Greg Mulholland MP, who is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, backed this. He said tax on cider is 19p, compared to 41p on beer.
Griffiths added that supermarkets have the ability to bulk buy and offer lower prices for alcohol.
He concluded: “Most pubs get 65% of their income from the sale of beer. That’s why this is so important, because the small businesses rely on selling beer. With a 42% increase in duty, this is unsustainable.
“A fair system will help to drive growth, you could challenge the industry to do this, if only you could give them a fair chance. Scrapping the escalator would save five million jobs and stop the closure of hundreds of pubs.
“This is a huge opportunity to bring in balance and support for our pubs. This is a chance for the minister (Sajid Javid) to be the man who saves the British brewing industry and the man who protects Great British pubs and saves the British pint.”
The decision to hold the debate was taken on 23 October by the Backbench Business Committee after hearing representations from Griffiths and Mulholland.
Keep up-to-date with the Beer Duty Debate on the Publican's Morning Advertiser website throughout the day.