The Beer Duty Escalator was introduced by Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling in 2008. This insidious piece of legislation ensures that the tax on beer rises by the rate of inflation + 2% automatically at every budget, and will do so until 2015. So when the ConDem Chancellor George Osborne announced in the budget that there would be ‘no change’ to beer duty, what he meant was that beer duty would increase by the rate of inflation + 2%, which will amount to about 10p on every pint.
This peabrained idea is supposed to tackle the problem of youth drunkenness and the so-called ‘binge drinking’ culture observable in some of our city centres. Like all governmental ‘solutions’ to problems, it totally ignores the causes of the problem, and punishes those who not only are not part of the problem, but who very well may be a real solution to it. It seems that the governmental solution to every new problem that arises is more tax. I use the term ‘governmental’ without reference to party lines because as far as I can see, it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always wins. When Gordon Brown as chancellor was finally persuaded that climate change was actually happening, he responded by increasing taxes all across the transport spectrum. Way to save the world, brainbox.
Instead of addressing the real problems (high unemployment amongst the young, banks and their arrogant self-rewarding useless directors causing massive financial hardships to everyone but themselves, the fact that students will now begin their working lives after university with massive debts, the total failure of the pensions industry (sodding bankers again), ever increasing taxation etc., etc., etc) the government decides to tackle the problem by taxing people who are decidedly not part of the binge-drinking culture. Those people are the everyday drinkers of beer in pubs. They totally ignore campaigns such as ‘Pub is the Hub’ (patron HRH the Prince of Wales), which show quite clearly that a properly maintained and managed pub is by far the safest place to have a drink, and that the people who regularly use their local pub are the best-behaved of all drinkers.
The government should turn its attention to tackling the real problems – something they are clearly too lilly-livered to do. Instead, they make the situation worse. By hiking the duty in this way, they more or less force the young bingers to go to the local supermarket and stash up on below-cost pissy booze to chuck down their necks before going out to the disreputable bars and clubs that permit loutish behaviour.
There is a little hope. We can force a debate in the House of Commons if we can get 100,000 names on an e-petition which you can access via CAMRAs website at www.camra.org.uk/saveyourpint. At the time of writing, there were just over 65,000 names on the e-petition. So go on, do your bit now! We can only counter this stupid and unthinking legislation by registering our concerns in this way. This is the wording of the petition:
Stop the beer duty escalator
Responsible department: Her Majesty’s Treasury
Every year, the beer tax escalator increases the tax on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation, thus adding considerably more pressure on the British pub, the cornerstone of many of our communities. Removing the beer duty escalator at the next budget will help keep beer more affordable and go a long way to supporting the institution that is – the great British pub. Going to the pub is a core British tradition and so is enjoying great beer. If you want to continue enjoying your fresh pint in your local pub then it’s crucial that you support our campaign to grind the beer duty tax escalator to a halt. If we don’t show our support for the great British pub, we risk losing more pubs and more jobs within our local communities. Support great beer in the great British pub and sign our e-petition now….. British Pubs Need You.
Do it now.
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