Beer: Kerry meets CAMRA in Parliament

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13 December 2012
Kerry McCarthy MP has met with her constituents who were in Parliament yesterday calling for the abolition of the beer duty escalator. The MP for Bristol East is concerned that local pubs are facing serious financial difficulties, which has caused many to close their doors. Speaking to local campaigners, Kerry confirmed that she would write to the Chancellor, George Osborne, to urge him to do what he can to help local pubs survive the economic downturn.

While it was the previous Labour Government that initially introduced the duty escalator, this was at a time when alcohol was becoming increasingly more affordable, especially relative to incomes. Since then, though, wages have not kept up with the high level of inflation and the Government chose to increase VAT, which added 5p to the price of a pint, equivalent to a 12% duty increase. Twenty four pubs in the Bristol area closed in the last year.

Last month, Parliament debated the effects of the beer duty escalator. Labour supported a motion arguing it is time to review the economic and social impact of the escalator on the pub industry. The House of Commons did approve the motion without a vote, but the Government remains opposed to a review. Sadly, the Government is refusing to listen to Labour’s proposal to reverse the VAT increase, temporarily, to provide a much-needed boost to the economy.

Speaking after meeting her constituents, Kerry said: “I certainly understand my constituents’ concerns about the serious challenges our local pubs are facing, particularly having met with representatives from the British Beer & Pub Association and from CAMRA in the past. I appreciate too that community pubs can have an important role in our neighbourhoods. Pub closures can be very damaging for our economy and for jobs in the local community and it is important that we do all we can to keep them open. The Government needs to start considering why so many people can no longer afford to go to the pub, so I will write to the Chancellor, George Osborne, urging him to listen to these concerns and to review the economic and social impact of the beer duty escalator.”



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