PUBS in Scotland are closing at the rate of two a week due to a combination of competition from off-sales and lack of confidence in the economy, according to the Campaign for Real Ale.
CAMRA figures show 55 pubs in Scotland have closed over the last six months and that across the whole of the UK 450 pubs have been lost since March – an average of 18 closures every week.
Campaigners say the industry is in crisis and are calling for an urgent review of the beer duty escalator – introduced by Alistair Darling in 2008 – which imposes a tax hike 2 per cent above inflation every year.
Mike Benner, CAMRA chief executive, said: “For too long, Britain’s beer drinkers have been forced to endure inflation-busting rates of tax on their pint, while the Treasury’s own projections show that these hikes will fail to bring in any additional revenue over the next three years.
“As today’s pub closure figures show, the future of Britain’s valued community pubs remains in jeopardy. With pubs finding it ever harder to maintain consistent footfall at a time when prices are ever increasing, it is only hoped that Parliament will take the first steps by voting to review punitive taxation policies on Britain’s National Drink.”
An online petition against the escalation of beer duty has now been signed by 100,000 people while more than 3,000 beer drinkers have written to their local MPs urging them to speak out on the issue.
Economic Secretary Sajid Javid said if the escalator was axed the Treasury would need to find another £35 million in taxes annually or cut spending. He told the Commons: “We regularly monitor alcohol duties to make sure we are on top of the impact on industry and consumers.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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