08:00 Monday 23 December 2013

MP aiming for second successive beer duty cut

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

BURTON’S MP has begun his campaign to achieve a beer duty cut for the second successive year.

Following an unprecedented cut in earlier this year, pub industry bosses are nervously awaiting the Government’s decision for 2014 which is set to be delivered in March.

Burton’s pubs and breweries were given a massive boost when the duty paid on beer was reduced for the first time in half a century.

The beer duty escalator, which had forced up the amount of tax levied on beer each year from 2008 was also scrapped in another major victory for the industry, at a time when it had been bracing itself for a 3p hike.

Pubs and breweries hailed the decision which was announced as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s 2013 budget but campaigners insist any new hike would only undo that success.

An early day motion has been launched by the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, which is chaired by the town’s MP Andrew Griffiths.

And while many in the industry believe a freeze on beer duty is more likely, Mr Griffiths has set his sights high by aiming for another reduction for the second year running.

He said: “Cutting beer duty at the last budget was a huge boost for Burton brewers and we are hoping we can convince George Osborne to do something which is unheard of which is to cut beer duty twice.

“This industry is hugely important to Burton and the tax brewers pay has a massive influence on whether they survive or not.”

It comes in a week in which pub landlords in Burton have already received a blow after the town’s Molson Coors announced it was to slap a 5p increase on the price of Carling.

But Mr Griffiths insisted had the beer duty escalator not been scrapped it could have been a 13p rise.

Brigid Simmons, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said this year’s developments were a positive ‘first step’ but that it would take a long time to undo the suffering of the previous four-year period when beer duty shot up by 42 per cent.

She said: “I hope MPs will again support the overwhelming case for a freeze in beer duty in March.”

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