A petition to halt the beer duty tax escalator has reached 100,000 signatures – enough to trigger a debate on the issue in Parliament.
The Hobgoblin, figurehead of the Wychwood Brewery beer of the same name, headed the “British Pubs Need You” campaign, which aims to highlight the effect the escalator has on the price of beer. The escalator means that duty on beer increases by 2% above the rate of inflation every year.
Yesterday saw the Hobgoblin march on Parliament, alongside campaign supporters wearing Hobgoblin masks. Andrew Griffiths, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, also put in an appearance to lend his support to the event.
Hobgoblin marketing manager Chris Keating said: “The gathering of Hobgoblin fans yesterday in Westminster highlights the support for the Great British Pub and is just one of the crucial activities we’ve instigated to reach the elusive 100,000 signatures.”
The issue could now be debated in Parliament, provided it gains the support of MPs – with several, including Griffiths and Greg Mulholland, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save The Pub Group, indicating that they would help to ensure a debate took place.
Griffiths added: “This campaign has succeeded in terms of highlighting the damage the beer duty escalator has on the pub industry and how much we are paying for every pint we purchase at our favourite pub.”
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds also welcomed the move, saying: “Thanks to the huge numbers who are supporting the campaign, this should be a real wake-up call for the Government. I hope even more people will now sign, as further huge annual tax hikes must not go ahead. They are hurting pubs and destroying our ability to create much-needed jobs.”
Keating said: “Thanks to the support of trade bodies such as Camra, SIBA and the BBPA, as well as pub licensees, managers and consumers, we have been able to hit the momentous milestone – which no one said we could do. This is the beginning of what will be a lengthy debate and we are glad that as an industry we have united to make the Government take notice.”
By Neil Gerrard
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