Majority of MPs oppose Darling’s beer tax escalator

By Becky Paskin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beer tax United kingdom Inflation Public house

Majority of MPs oppose Darling’s beer tax escalator
A poll commissioned by the Axe the Beer Tax – Save the Pub campaign has revealed the majority of MPs oppose Alistair Darling’s plans to increase beer tax in next week’s budget

The majority of MPs have expressed their opposition to Chancellor Alistair Darling’s plans to increase beer tax in next week’s budget.

A ComRes​ poll of MPs, commissioned by the ‘Axe the Beer Tax – Save the Pub​’ campaign, revealed that almost one in ten was opposed to further beer tax increases, with over 60 per cent calling for Government action to help support the pub’s role in the local community.

Over 200 MPs, including 97 Labour backbenchers, have already signed a Parliamentary Motion supporting the campaign, which is led by the British Beer and Pub Association​ (BBPA) and CAMRA​, after 25,000 members of the public lobbied their MP. A ComRes poll published last month showed that 70 per cent of the public felt that a rise in beer tax​ above the rate of inflation could not be justified.

Jonathan Neame, chief executive of brewer Shepherd Neame​, said if Darling continues with his plan to increase beer tax, he would not only be over-riding the wishes of the majority of MPs, but voters and consumers as well.

“The economic facts have changed dramatically for the worse since Darling announced last spring his intention to increase beer tax above inflation year by year,” he said. “The case for beer tax increases – which we always contested – has been swept away by the recession. Our message to the Chancellor is – don’t kick this great traditional industry when it is down.”

Mike Benner, chief executive of CAMRA, said: “We are not asking for special favours, only for a reprieve from an unnecessary and unjustifiable tax rise. The Chancellor needs to recognise the scale of the threat to the traditional pub as more and more close with every month of recession.”

Last month the BBPA announced a record 2,000 pub closures​ and 20,000 job losses since the 2008 budget when Alistair Darling increased beer tax by 18 per cent. Furthermore, a BBPA report published earlier this month found that up to 60,000 pub sector jobs​ could be lost in the next five years if the Chancellor continued with his plans to increase beer tax above the rate of inflation.

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