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MPs to debate beer tax as sales slump

Added: Tuesday, October 23rd 2012

Members of Parliament will hold a three-hour debate on the Beer Duty Escalator on Thursday 1 November in the wake of a report from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) showing a fall of 4.8% in beer sales in pubs in the third quarter of 2012. The debate in parliament is the result of more than 100,000 people signing an e-petition organised by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, calling for the “beer duty escalator” to be scrapped.

With sales in the “off trade” – supermarkets, off-licences and grocers – down by 6.6% in the same period, the BBPA says that beer duty has risen by a startling 42% since the escalator was introduced in 2008. The escalator was brought in by the Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling and has been continued by the coalition government. A further rise in duty of 2% above inflation is planned for the March 2013 Budget.

The BBPA says that the fall in beer sales is hitting government revenues. Analysis by Oxford Economics indicates that a duty freeze next March would save 5,000 jobs in a sector that employs close to 1 million people – mainly young people working in pubs.

Brigid Simmons, chief executive of the BBPA (pictured delivering a petition to the Treasury at the time of the March 2012 Budget), says: “If the government wants to encourage growth, back British business and support local communities, it must end the Beer Duty Escalator. The chancellor must listen to the thousands of people now calling for a change so the sector can grow.”

*See Open Letter to Chloe Smith MP on this site.

Brigid Simmons