Results tagged “Alastair Darling” from Sunday Mercury - Toby Jugg
The Campaign for Real Ale today called on Chancellor Alastair Darling to end the special tax treatment of spirits and to support the British brewing industry.
Following last year's Pre-Budget Report, taxation on beer, wine and cider was increased by 8%, whilst spirits were let off lightly with a rise of only 4%. Brewers are likely to come under further pressure when VAT is increased in the new year.
CAMRA wants duty on spirits increased and the cash used to reduce the general duty on beers and allow the zero-rating of lower strength ales, 2.8% abv or below.
CAMRA's chief executive, Mike Benner, said "UK beer duty has been increased by 52% since the current Government came to power in 1997, whilst spirit duty has increased by only 19%.
"The 4% duty concession given to the spirits lobby following last year's Pre-Budget Report should be withdrawn to fund a fair deal for beer and pubs. In the longer term, the difference in the duty rate for spirits and lower alcohol categories should be restored to the levels that Labour inherited when they came to power in 1997.
Beer was the mainstay product of community pubs, he added, and licensees could not survive afford further price increases.
"Community pubs provide a safe and social environment for people to relax with a drink and play a major role in community life. Community pubs should not be made to suffer as a result of unfair rises in beer duty, while spirits get off lightly.
"Any reductions in beer duty must be fully passed on by pub-owning companies to their tied publicans and therefore the consumer. Government should make it clear that it will stamp down hard on profiteering, through new competition legislation if necessary.
"There is a common misconception in the UK that spirits are synonymous with whisky. In fact, whisky accounts for only about 10% of spirit sales in the UK; with alcopops and white spirits (vodka, white rum and gin) making up the lion's share of sales in pubs."
The Campaign for Real Ale has this morning forecast that as many as one in eight British pubs will disappear within the next four years.
It blames a triple whammy of massive hikes in beer taxes, unfair competition from loss-leading supermarkets and the economic down for the potential loss of up to 7,500 pubs by the end of 2012.
CAMRA has called upon the Chancellor, Alastair Darling, to act immediately by:
- reducing Value Added Tax
- investigating the feasibility of reduced tax on beer sold in pubs
- setting minimum prices for off-sales
CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: "Action to support pubs in the Pre Budget report, next Monday, is essential in order to prevent a bloodbath of pub closures following the traditionally busy Christmas trading period.
"This year's increase in beer tax has forced publicans to increase beer prices, making visiting the pub less affordable for hard pressed consumers."
The Government had to freeze beer tax whilst a reduced rate for pubs was considered, he added.
"Well-run community pubs help reduce alcohol related disorder and binge drinking by providing a safe, controlled and supervised environment for people to have fun and enjoy a drink.
"Pubs play a vital role in community life and provide a much valued sociable leisure activity for millions.
"Despite overwhelming political and media concern, supermarkets continue to push below cost alcohol deals. Current promotions include 18 bottles of premium lager being sold for ÃÂ£6.99 and 45 cans of lager for ÃÂ£18.
"These deals are utterly irresponsible and are ripping the heart out of community life by closing pubs. The Government must act now to end irresponsible alcohol price promotions that are encouraging alcohol misuse, undermining communities, ruining livelihoods and damaging peoples' social lives."