The petition, signed by just shy of 110,000 people, calls for a cut in what’s deemed to be exorbitant beer duty to help support local pubs amid forecasts that more than one in 10 (12%) could close within the next five years if the Government fails to act.
Moreover, more than 45,000 people have written to their local MP since Long Live The Local launched in July 2018.
Following the delivery by fashion model, race car driver and licensee Jodie Kidd; Ashley McCarthy from Ye Old Sun Inn, Colton, North Yorkshire; Sara Barton from Marquis of Granby in Granby, Nottinghamshire; Mark and Eimear Walsh from the Winchmore in north London; and Emily Kolltveit from the Chandos Arms, Colindale, north London; Mike Wood MP drew attention to the petition in parliament during DEFRA questions with Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove.
The petition’s delivery comes as a YouGov poll revealed that almost three quarters of people (72%) believe that pubs are an important part of local communities with more than one in three people (36%) describing pubs as an important part of their social life.
Moreover, as reported by The Morning Advertiser, a recent study by the Local Government Information Unit and the Portman Group revealed that 92% of councils believe that the night-time economy can prevent the decline of high street retail – a view backed by more than half of those polled by YouGov (55%).
In addition, an open letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, organised by veteran All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group president and former deputy speaker, Nigel Evans MP, has gained the backing of 45 Conservative backbenchers.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to deliver his Autumn Budget on 29 October.
Time to act
Kidd, publican of the Half Moon, Kirdford, West Sussex, explained: “Local pubs like my own bring people together and are at the heart of communities. However, mounting financial pressures mean that, for many, it is already a struggle just to keep their doors open.
“I am at Downing Street today to deliver the Long Live The Local petition because, along with 105,000 other people, I believe the Chancellor must act now to protect our local pubs. An increase in beer duty on 29 October will continue to cripple our pubs with communities bearing the cost.”
Speaking to The Morning Advertiser, Emily Kolltveit of the Chandos Arms – winner of the Community Pub category at the 2017 Great British Pub Awards and a finalist in the Live Entertainment category in 2018 – explained: "We're all people who believe really strongly in the importance of our pubs. It's not just about alcohol, there's so much more to it.
"People are quite shocked at the difference in tax that we're paying in this country. When I've been talking to people and I highlight the difference between, say, what Germany pays – which I think is around about the 4% mark – and then we're paying almost 50% and the fact that as a country we're paying such a significant amount of the overall tax, people are really shocked about it. You see Germany as a country that's at an equivalent economic level and status within Europe and you realise how much we're getting shafted, basically.
"This is the kind of campaign the whole country can get behind and can really pull us together as a country. Everyone agrees on the importance of our local pubs and those community gathering places that we're losing."
Long Live The Local programme director David Cunningham added: “Our pubs and brewers not only support nearly 900,000 jobs, account for £11.1bn in wages, contribute £22.9bn in GVA (gross value added) to the economy and pay £13bn in taxes, but they are also vital for our high streets and highly valued by communities.
“Despite this, beer duty in the UK is already taxed at three times the EU average and 12 times higher than in Germany and Spain. If the Chancellor raises beer duty in line with RPI inflation as planned, the result could be catastrophic.
“Based on current closure rates, we estimate that, within five years, more than one in 10 pubs in the UK could close for good, costing thousands of jobs.
“That’s why more than 105,000 people have raised their collective voice and signed the Long Live The Local petition and more than 45,000 people have written to their MP calling for a cut in beer duty.
“A recent Oxford Economics report estimates that a 2% cut in beer duty, which is what we are asking for, would not only help protect over 12,500 jobs, it will also create a further 8,500 new jobs over the next four years”.