CAMRA stats show regular pub visitors down 3 million since beer duty escalator introduced

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beer duty escalator United kingdom Public house

CAMRA stats show regular pub visitors down 3 million since beer duty escalator introduced
The number of regular pub goers in the UK has declined by 3 million people since the beer duty escalator was introduced in 2008, according to new figures from the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA).

The figures are released on the day CAMRA heads the biggest campaigning event in its history, with over 1,200 of its members expected to descend on Parliament for a Mass Lobby calling for an end to the duty escalator.

Over 400 MPs will be lobbied by CAMRA members throughout the day, with events kicking off from 11am at the Emmanuel Centre on Marsham Street, Westminster. A Rally will take place at 4pm with leading MPs due to speak.

The controversial duty escalator, which was implemented by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, guaranteed an increase on the duty on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation every year from 2008 to 2014.

The Treasury said in November it would not be reviewing the escalator despite MPs voting unanimously in favour of a review in a House of Common debate on the issue.

The debate was secured after an e-petition calling for an end to the escalator reached 100,000 signatures, with that number continuing to rise.

CAMRA national chairman Colin Valentine said: “Over the past 40 years there have been few threats to the UK pub industry as severe as the beer duty escalator, which is why so many of our members from across the country have travelled to Westminster to participate in today’s Lobby.

“Even after a Government e-petition reaching 100,000 signatures, and a Parliamentary debate where MPs present unanimously backed a review of the beer duty escalator, the Government do not appear to have woken up to the crippling social and economic impact their actions are having on valued community pubs.

“With the nation’s pub closure rate back on the increase, what the Government should be doing is looking at ways to alleviate the burden on struggling pubs, and further recognise their importance as community assets.

“Such a huge decline in the number of regular pub goers, as seen with today’s figures, is a critical reminder that change needs to happen fast to prevent irreparable damage to community life in the UK, and to save the nation’s proud pub going heritage from being taxed into oblivion.”

Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Greg Mulholland MP, yesterday asked Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid, for an update on his consideration of the future of the beer duty escalator, ahead of the mass lobby.

Javid said he is still reflecting on the issue and will meet CAMRA members from his own constituency at today's event.

Mulholland said: “I am heartened to hear that the Minister is still listening and reflecting on the Treasury’s current continuation of this damaging tax, I hope that CAMRA members will help him with that reflection and help him come to the sensible conclusion which is to scrap the beer duty escalator in next year’s budget."

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