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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Beer duty escalator scrapped!

Pulling pints with local CAMRA campaigner, Peter Bridle, at the superb 'Inn on the Green' in Horfield. What an array of real ales!
Ok, so I declare an enormous vested interest in the success of our campaign to scrap the beer duty escalator - I love pubs and anyone who knows me will tell you that I also love a (responsible of course) pint of beer.

I've been campaigning for years to support our pubs - both locally, ( the Save the Lamplighters campaign still goes on, with efforts to re-open it again)  - and nationally.  I've banged on about the appalling unfairness of major pub companies like Enterprise Inns and the way they treat their licencees, and have also been campaigning strongly for the beer duty escalator, which sees duty on beer go up by more than inflation each year, scrapped.

I've been working with groups like CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale ) on this, and to be honest, it felt like a bit of a lost cause at times. There hasn't been a reducation in beer tax for decades. However, if I had been sitting on a bench and not squeezed into the steps in the chamber, I would almost have fallen off it as the Chancellor revealed he was scrapping the Beer Duty Escalator, AND taking a penny off a pint at the same time. Furthermore, I even got a bit of a plug for banging on about if for so long.

I've said it before, I 'll say it again, this matters because pubs are at the heart of our communities. They employ huge numbers of people - almost half of them young people;  contribute enormously to our local economy, help support the high street and other outlets at the high-street, and provide a far safer, more sociable way of drinking than 'pre-loading'.  They deserve a level playing field with supermarkets, and deserve our support. There is still much more to do, but scrapping the beer duty escalator that the last goverment introduced definitely warrents a celebratory pint.

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