Today’s #SaveYourPint Commons debate

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I’ve just sat and live tweeted the headlines coming out of the live House of Commons debate over the beer duty escalator. After 104,000 of us who love beer signed an e-petition to get it to this point today, the case was put forward to a Minister from the Treasury as to why the beer duty escalator  – the annual increase in taxes on beer – should be abolished. All to save the price of a pint going up, to stop more pubs closing and stop more jobs being lost.

The price of a pint of beer in the pubs is going though the roof – £1 goes to the government (50p in duty and 50p in VAT). In the 2hr 47mins debate that started at 1130, around 20 MPs delivered speeches and there were numerous interventions from countless other MPs who care about the beer and pub industry.

The main threads were 87% of all beer drunk in UK is brewed in UK, a great British manufacturing success but on average 18 pubs are closing each week (new figures from CAMRA today). Jobs for young people and part-time workers who want to get into work are at stake. After all the brilliant submissions from the likes of Andrew Griffiths (Conservative MP for Burton), Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem MP for Leeds NW) and many many more who are avid supporters (including several female MPs*) of their local pubs and breweries, it came to this.

Economic Minister, Sajid David, said ‘So long and thanks for all the fish!’ Well, not quite, but that’s what it felt like to me. No sign of the abolition of beer duty escalator anytime soon, it seems.

He said he appreciated all the speeches, thanked all of those who signed the petition, that it was a ‘very valuable debate’, the government actively supports the industry and it’s done lots and lots to support the beer and pub industry already (in terms of Corporation Tax cuts, Small Brewery Relief, Machine Gaming Tax changes and other business and rural rates relief schemes). He said the government will ‘keep things under review’. But he also reminded the House that duty rises are part of government’s deficit plan until 2014 and that cancelling the 2% rises  in beer duty would cost £35m next yr & £70m the following year.

Now what do YOU make of that??

 

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* SHOUT-OUT TO THE FOLLOWING FEMALE MPS WHO STOOD UP IN SUPPORT (is there anyone I missed out?)
• Jane Ellison, Con, Battersea
• Sandra Osborne, Lab, Ayr, Carrick, Cumnock
• Charlotte Leslie, Con, Bristol North West (she said over £120m a year is donated to charity by pubs; 27% of couples all met in the pub)
• Alison McGovern, Lab, The Wirral
. Pauline Latham, Con, Mid Derbys
• Hazel Blears, Lab, Salford & Eccles
• Caroline Nokes, Cons, Romsey & Southampton North
• Cathy Jamieson, Shadow Treasury Minister

4 Responses to Today’s #SaveYourPint Commons debate

  1. There’s little point in a debate if the people that can make the difference aren’t listening. They may say they are, but removing a source of income at this moment just doesn’t enter into their thinking. Therefore, unfortunately, it looks like the escalator will carry on escalating

    • BEER BEAUTY says:

      It feels like it, doesn’t it? I hope it’s not the case and that all the hard work and speeches today were for nothing. We’ve all just gotta keep doing out little but for the cause!!

  2. Jenni Nicholls says:

    Great post, I also felt that it was very much lip service from Sajid David. A real shame because the rises in duty this year and next is going to put huge strains on breweries and pubs alike. While it is just one of the strains on new business, it’s an important one.
    If taxes and duty continue to rise, pubs will continue to close, breweries will follow, resulting a job losses and a loss of earnings for the treasury, surely?

    • BEER BEAUTY says:

      Cheers for your comments, Jenni. No clear sign yet of ignoring calls for abolition but it felt like it to me and if so that’s terribly sad. So now, once again, the industry sits in limbo. We gotta just keep on fighting.

  3. Hazel Blears, not Harriet Harman.

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