CAMRA defends call on duty escalator petition

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Duty escalator, Twitter, Camra

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has hit back at criticism levied against it by leading beer writer and PMA columnist Pete Brown for delaying its support for a petition against the beer duty escalator.

The petition, which was initiated by Marston’s on 15 February, says that “removing the beer duty escalator at the next budget will help keep beer more affordable and go a long way to supporting the institution that is – the great British pub.”

However, CAMRA, which has 130,000 members across the UK, chose not to direct its members to the petition until after last week’s Budget, for which it had been running its own campaigns. If the petition had attracted 100,000 signatures, it would have led to the duty escalator being debated in the House of Commons.

The move by CAMRA came in for heavy criticism on Twitter from Brown, who has 5,775 followers on the social networking site. Brown tweeted to CAMRA on 19 March: “Why have you STILL not asked your 136,000 members to sign the e-petition against the Duty Escalator? Proper answer please.”

Jonathan Mail, CAMRA head of public affairs, said: “We are delighted at the response from our members to the e-petition, with over 7,500 signing in just 24 hours following the launch of our support. Amongst lots of positive feedback, CAMRA has received some unconstructive criticism on Twitter for not supporting the petition before the Budget.

“The reason for launching our support after this year’s Budget is that the target of the petition is Budget 2013 and it would not have been right to divert our focus away from getting the Chancellor to abandon the escalator this year. CAMRA was very active in the run up to this year’s Budget with over 5,500 members emailing MPs. Everyone now needs to unite and get behind the campaign to secure 100,000 signatures.”

Pete Brown added in another tweet: “Yep - now understand why @CAMRA_official delayed supporting the petition but still think it was the wrong decision”

The petition can be signed here.

Related topics: Other operators, Legislation

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