Net rate of pub closures hits 18 per week as beer duty escalator debate hits Parliament

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Net rate of pub closures hits 18 per week as beer duty escalator debate hits Parliament
The net rate of pubs closures has increased by 50% with 18 pubs a week closing - up from the previous figures of 12 per week - the latest CGA-CAMRA Pub Tracker has revealed.

The figures show that 450 pubs across the country have been lost since March and 5,800 pubs have closed since the beer duty escalator was introduced in 2008.

According to the research, the net closure rate of pubs was 18 per week between March and September, up from 12 between September 2011 and March 2012.

CAMRA has warned that the industry is in vital need of a successful outcome at today’s Parliamentary debate calling for a review of the social and economic impact of the beer duty escalator before Budget 2013.

The debate was triggered after the e-petition asking for the end of the beer duty escalator hit 100,000 signatures.

Mike Benner, CAMRA chief executive, said: “Surpassing the 100,000 signatures required to trigger a debate was a major consumer-led campaigning success, but the real hard work begins now.

“For too long, Britain’s beer drinkers have been forced to endure inflation busting rates of tax on their pint, while the Treasury’s own projections show that these hikes will fail to bring in any additional revenue over the next three years.”

“As today’s pub closure figures show, the future of Britain’s valued community pubs remains in jeopardy. With pubs finding it ever harder to maintain consistent footfall at a time when prices are ever increasing, it is only hoped that Parliament will today take the first steps by voting to review punitive taxation policies on Britain’s National Drink.”

Lobbying efforts were increasing before the debate this morning.

A joint letter from 11 organisations from the beer and pub supply chain including British Beer & Pub Association, Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the National Farmers Union have urged Treasury minister Savid Javid to "look again at the policy of two per cent above-inflation duty increases".

The letter said: "The review proposed in Thursday's motion would ensure a greater understanding of the wider impact of the escalator and how, ultimately, a change in policy would allow this valuable sector to contribute towards growth."

However, concern has been raised by SIBA, who have also signed the letter, that many Coalition MPs are continuing to defend the Beer Duty Escalator on the basis that it provides revenue needed to pay down the deficit.

SIBA chairman Keith Bott, said: “We were surprised at how many Coalition MPs, in their reply to our members, claimed that the escalator needed to stay in place. The standard response seems to be that “revenues from alcohol excise duty make an important contribution to reducing the deficit we inherited from the last Government”.

The Publican's Morning Advertiser will be publishing the details of the debate today and tommorrow.

Related topics: Beer