Beer Duty Debate: Beer in danger of becoming a luxury item

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Beer duty escalator, Pint, Stoke-on-trent, Pint glass

A pint of beer is in danger of becoming a luxury item, Conservative MP for Nuneaton Marcus Jones has told the House of Commons today during a debate on the beer duty escalator.

He was speaking during the debate in Westminster Hall this morning calling for the scrapping of the beer duty escalator which has seen tax on a pint of beer increase by 42% since 2008.           

Jones said:“I know popping down the local for a pint is becoming more and more expensive and more and more far out of reach of many of my constituents.

“The cost of a pint has become more and more unaffordable and is fast heading, if we are not careful, to becoming a Luxury item."

He praised the campaigns by CAMRA, the British Beer and Pub Association, SIBA, National Farmers Union, Taxpayers Alliance and The Sun in fighting the tax which has captured the “spirit of public opinion”.

He added: “I would like to make an appeal to the minister. I appreciate the work the Government has done in reducing the deficit which has given us far lower interest rates and has helped the economy.

"I appreciate the freeze on council tax for the last three years which has helped the cost of living, the freeze on fuel duty which has no doubt helped the pub industry. I would also urge my honorable member to assess this beer duty escalator and beer duty in general to see if the affect is disproportionate, because I believe and many of the industry bodies believe it is.

"I ask the minister to give our great beer and pub industry a break by scrapping the beer duty escalator."

The Labour MP for Stoke on Trent North Joan Walley called for the Treasury to give the details of the review it agreed to make of the beer duty escalator. She also called for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to get involved, saying the issue is about a British manufacturing industry.

All-Party Parliamentary Save The Pub Group chairman and Leeds North West MP, Greg Mulholland, added: "There is very clearly a link between the level of beer duty and the level of investment brewers can put into their businesses. For every pound spent in a pub, compared to in a supermarket, double that is ploughed back into the local economy.

"I really hope that this is the last time we discuss the beer duty escalator in Parliament."

Meanwhile, All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chairman Andrew Griffiths praised the amount of innovation in the British brewing industry, and raised the example of the Publican's Morning Advertiser's Beer Innovation Summit which was held in his Burton-Upon-Trent constituency last month.

He said that consumer behaviour is changing as an "unintended consequence" of the beer duty escalator and that the Treasury's own revenue figures show the policy to be misguided.

Related topics: Beer, Legislation

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