Real ale protesters to pour into Westminster

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REAL ale campaigners will today lobby Westminster as part of a campaign to scrap the “damaging” beer duty escalator.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said that since the policy of raising beer duty by 2 per cent above inflation was introduced by the Labour government, more than 5,800 pubs have closed and the number of pub-goers has fallen by three million.

Camra said it will be the biggest campaign event in its 40-year history, with more than 1,000 of its members expected to take part.

Chairman Colin Valentine said: “Over the past 40 years there have been few threats to the UK pub industry as severe as the beer duty escalator, which is why so many of our members from across the country have travelled to Westminster to participate in today’s lobby.

“Even after a government e-petition reaching 100,000 signatures, and a Parliamentary debate where MPs present unanimously backed a review of the beer duty escalator, the government do not appear to have woken up to the crippling social and economic impact their actions are having on valued community pubs.

“With the nation’s pub closure rate back on the increase, what the government should be doing is looking at ways to alleviate the burden on struggling pub.”