Eilidh Whiteford


MP Makes Case Against 'Beer Duty Escalator' in Support of Local Hotels

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Speaking during a debate in the House of Commons prompted by a public petition on beer duty, Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford made the case for local hotels and community pubs.

Despite a 42 per cent increase in beer duty since 2008, HM Treasury forecasts that have shown that there will be no additional revenue generated from beer duty despite planned increases over the next two years.

MPs debated the impact of the ‘beer duty escalator’ on valued community pubs and the continued affordability of beer in pubs and urged the Government to support the beer and pub sector by conducting a thorough review of the economic and social impact of the beer duty escalator to report back before the 2013 Budget.

Commenting following the debate in the House of Commons, Dr Whiteford said:

“The beer duty escalator, which sees the tax on beer increase by 3% each year, puts local hotels and community pubs, as well as brewers, at a real disadvantage when trying to compete against the big supermarkets.  With the price of a pint rising all the time, people are increasingly buying their alcohol from supermarkets at a knock down price, and this results in several interlinked problems.

“Not only does it mean last orders for the community pub, buying alcohol for consumption at home also leads to a range of safety concerns.  The local pub is often a source of community spirit, but it is also a controlled environment.  The trend towards drinking at home has made cheap alcohol more widely available and fuelled excessive consumption that contribute to a range of health and social problems.

“The Scottish Government has introduced a bill on the minimum pricing of alcohol and this will go some way to alleviate the damage cheap alcohol causes in our communities.  However, the London Government’s disproportionate tax on beer in pubs is not the answer and doesn’t act as a deterrent to drinking; it merely forces drinking behind closed doors.  It doesn’t reduce drinking, it increases it while simultaneously jeopardising thousands of jobs.”

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