LOVERS of real ale are planning to march on Westminster to campaign against a tax which has added 42 per cent to the cost of beer since 2008.
The escalator tax, which was introduced by former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, puts up the tax on a pint of beer by 2 per cent above inflation every year.
The Campaign for Real Ale says the price hike has made life even more difficult for licensees, who are already struggling because of the twin effects of the recession and the smoking ban.
Camra national chairman Colin Valentine said: “It’s been fantastic to witness the beer and pub industry uniting to fight back against this issue.
“Over the last six months, Camra has been collecting signatures at beer festivals, organising local campaigning events, as well as supplying pubs with petition material.
“On Camra’s part, we have devoted a great amount of resources to this campaign, so we are delighted this has all paid off. Camra’s next step is not to rest on our laurels but to maintain the impetus with our mass parliamentary lobby, which will reinforce to MPs the groundswell of support for this campaign.
“With all the battering it has taken, the beer and pub sector still manages to contribute over £21 billion a year to the UK’s GDP, and supports one million jobs, so it’s about time the government honoured its pledge to be ‘pub-friendly’.”
British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Thanks to the huge numbers who are supporting the campaign, this should be a real wake-up call to government.
“I hope even more people will now sign, as further huge annual tax hikes must not go ahead.”