The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is behind a campaign to persuade the government to drop its recently announced increases in tax on beer. The most recent rise stayed in place while taxes on alcopops and spirits were dropped. There are historical precedents for this kind of protest group, most notably in the years leading up to the 1830 Beer Act, when the sale of beer was deregulated. It is worrying that the 1830 legislation came as part of an attempt to quel revolution and we have to hope that as the economic situation deteriorates we don’t get to that stage:
Last Thursday saw the launch of a new campaign to save the pub by opposing plans to further increasebeer tax, Axe the Beer Tax.
Britain’s pubs are under severe and sustained pressure. Sales of beer in pubs are now at their lowest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and 36 pubs are closing every week. More than 44,000 jobs were lost from the industry between 2000 and 2005 – and further redundancies are inevitable. CAMRA has predicted that up to 7,500 pubs could be lost by the end of 2012.
The situation is being made worse by the impact of the wider economic slowdown, and the Chancellor’s announcement of yet another increase in duty this week – on top of plans to increase the tax on beer above inflation next year and for the next three years. The Chancellor increased beer duty by 9% in March this year and by a further 8% on Monday last week.
With tax already taking up a third of the price of a pint of beer, further hikes can only accelerate the decline of the pub.
Pubs play a vital role in the social life of communities up and down the country – and are an essential part of promoting a more responsible drinking culture. It is time to stand up for a Great British tradition and save the pub.
This campaign aims to give a voice to ordinary British pub-goers and consumers, and send a strong message to Whitehall and Westminster that we’ve had enough.
Please join our campaign. Go to www.axethebeertax.com and sign up as a supporter.