Camra calls for beer tax cut to help protect pubs

The number of pubs closing every week has fallen slightly to 27, but the industry still needs help so the 'fragile recovery' can continue, a new report says.

The number of pub closures has fallen slightly, but Camra says the industry needs more help. Picture: Jacky Ghossein

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) called on the UK government to cut beer tax, despite the reduction in pub closures in the last six months of 2015 from a weekly figure of 29.

The group said that more than 1,000 pubs would have closed and 26,000 jobs lost if beer tax had not been cut in 2014.

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Ministers were urged to continue cutting tax to help keep beer affordable and slow the number of pub closures.

Tim Page, chief executive of Camra, said: “The latest figures show that the work of campaigners across Camra, the wider pub and beer industry and the government is taking effect and arresting the decline in the number of pubs being lost every week.

“However, it’s a fragile recovery which could very quickly be reversed if the government fails to build on this positive development and misses the chance to support the British pub and beer industry by reducing tax again.”

Page added: “It’s pleasing to see that our campaigning to protect community pubs is having an effect, with closure numbers reducing.

“As well as reducing tax, the government can continue to support these pubs by strengthening national planning regulations and supporting local groups seeking to list pubs as assets of community value.”

The closure figures for the second half of 2015 compare to the total for the previous six months.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The government continues to support the pub and beer industry across the UK. That’s why we took action at Budget 2015 to cut the tax on a typical pint of beer by a penny for the third year in a row, to cut duties on spirits and most ciders by 2 per cent, and to freeze duty on wine.”