MPs will be urged to "give beer a break" and back pubs as the "life and soul of Britain's communities" under the new British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) manifesto.
The I'm Backing the Pub manifesto, which replaces Axe the Tax, aims to promote the positive aspects of pubs. It calls for MPs to:
• Put pubs at the heart of a campaign to strengthen community life
• Lower tax and regulatory burdens on pubs and beer
• Limit the proliferation of new codes/restrictions, and enforce existing law properly
• Promote a policy environment that encourages consumers to choose low-
alcohol drinks such as beer
• Recognise the traditional role of pubs as the place for responsible, social drinking
• Work in partnership
with the trade to promote social responsibility through support for initiatives such as Pubwatch, Best Bar None and Drinkaware.
It also sets out specific demands for all political parties, including increasing rate relief, ending the duty escalator, a review of the duty system, an examination of the benefits of a lower rate of VAT on bar sales, a flexible approach on alcohol labelling and working to end irresponsible promotions.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "None of our suggested measures would cost the earth or have adverse consequences. They would merely give the majority of pubs a fighting chance."
People can pledge support at www.backthepub.com.
The campaign is backed by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). However, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which publicly attacked pubcos in its "super-complaint" to the Office of Fair Trading, has not put its name to it.
Chief executive Mike Benner said CAMRA will shortly release its own manifesto and he expects to lobby together with BBPA on tax issues.
Cold hard facts
• £80,000: average injected by pubs into local communities
• £107,000: average amount of tax pubs pay
• 540,000 people employed in brewing
• 90% of beer drunk is brewed in Britain
• 2% cut in beer tax could create 5,000 jobs by 2011
• 1p: average profit per pint for UK brewers
• 73p tax on pint of beer
• 3,500 pub closures since March 2008 Budget
• £600m increase in sector's tax bill since March 2008
• 112,000 jobs lost since 2004