The session organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) with the backing of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) saw 55 MPs attend to add their voice to the CAMRA campaign Keep Pubs Afloat.
The campaign was launched ahead of the Budget due later this year. It is asking beer drinkers and pub goers to take action to save pubs from sinking.
MPs signed a pledge asking for the Government to act in the Autumn Budget to help the pub sector. Those attending the event included All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chairman Conservative MP Mike Wood, Save the Pub Group chair Labour MP Toby Perkins and Green party MP Caroline Lucas.
A message the chancellor cannot ignore
It asked the Chancellor to at least freeze duty for the rest of this Parliament and introduce an annual rate relief for pubs of £5,000.
"Such a large number of MPs from across the political spectrum adding their voice to this campaign shows how serious the threat to pubs is felt in towns, cities and villages across the UK. MPs know this is an issue their constituents care about and want to see addressed, and it's a message the Chancellor cannot afford to ignore,” said Tim Page, CAMRA chief executive.
"Decisions taken in the forthcoming Budget could make or break thousands of community pubs that are already struggling to stay afloat under a variety of financial burdens. The groundswell of support, both in Parliament and across the country, is now clear and we urge the Government to show it is listening."
David Wilson, Public Affairs Director at the BBPA said: “It was great to demonstrate that the whole industry is united in opposing plans for further beer duty increases this year, as well as the unfair burden of business rates on pubs. This was a very useful event, which shows many MPs understand the importance of these issues, for both beer drinkers and pubs.”
MPs queuing to show support
James Calder, head of public affairs at SIBA, said that the MPs were queuing at the event to show their support for the sector.
“Introducing an annual £5,000 business rate relief for pubs in England as well as at least a freeze in beer duty for the rest of this Parliament will make a real difference and it was great to see so many MPs from across the political spectrum support our calls,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the ALMR said the event was a great example of the industry working together with a unified voice.
“The message for the Chancellor was that steps need to be taken to ease the burdens, particularly business rates and duty, on pubs and other venues. These burdens are stifling investment, but positive, decisive action from the Government can provide employers with the confidence they need to continue growing,” she said.