One of the core demands of the document is a call to reduce the duty rate on lower-strength beers and increase support for pubs serving food by introducing a reduced rate of VAT on bar sales and restaurant food.
The manifesto follows new research, commissioned by the BBPA, which found that 71% of the public believe that the tax on beer is too high, while 79% think that the rate of closure of 50 pubs a week is undermining an important part of Britain's social and community fabric.
The six 'core principles' of the manifesto are:
- Put pubs at the heart of a campaign to strengthen community life.
- Lower the tax and regulatory burden on pubs and beer.
- Promote a policy environment that encourages consumers to choose low alcohol drinks such as beer.
- Recognise the traditional role of pubs as the place for responsible, social drinking, in a more balanced strategy for tackling abuse.
- Work in partnership with the brewing and pub sector to promote social responsibility through
support for initiatives like Pubwatch, Crime and Disorder Partnerships, Best Bar None, Purple Flag, the Campaign for Smarter Drinking and Drinkaware.
The research also found that seven out of 10 people thought that more needed to be done to support and promote the pub.
As a result of the strong public support, the BBPA said it would also be launching a campaign called Á¢ÂÂIÁ¢ÂÂm backing the pubÁ¢ÂÂ in conjunction with the SocietyÁ of Independent Brewers (SIBA). It called on consumers, publicans and politicians to sign up.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: Á¢ÂÂThere is a clear and compelling public consensus amongst the British people that the pub is a vital part of their community and the social and economic character of Britain. This is coupled with a deep concern at the record number of pub closures we are witnessing today and a resounding call for action to support the British pub.Á¢ÂÂ
Meanwhile, Julian Grocock, chief executive of SIBA, said: Á¢ÂÂPubs are an integral part of BritainÁ¢ÂÂs rich culture, our national heritage, and the life of our communities. Reducing duty of a low-strength drink like beer would be a good start in helping to promote a unique British product, supporting a unique British institution, and launching an effective strategy to encourage responsible drinking in controlled and convivial surroundings.Á¢ÂÂ
By Neil Gerrard
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