The Chancellor brought some cheer to the nation’s beer drinkers by scrapping a duty escalator blamed for closing pubs - and going further by cutting duty by 1p today.

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The beer industry and campaign groups have been warning the Government that the escalator, which has added 2pc to the price of a pint since it was introduced by Labour in 2008, was forcing pubs out of business.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) gathered more than 100,000 names on a petition which led to a parliamentary debate last year.

Camra pointed out that beer duty has risen 42% since 2008, adding that 18 pubs a week are closing.

Norwich landlady Dawn Hopkins, who runs Ketts Tavern in Ketts Hill and the Rose in Queens Road, has made visits to Westminster as part of the efforts to persuade MPs to make changes to help the pub industry.

George Osborne told MPs that 10,000 pubs have closed in the past decade.

Duty on alcohol will not be cut, but the Chancellor said the beer duty escalator will be scrapped, preventing a 3p rise this year.

Mr Osborne drew cheers from MPs when he said he intended to go further, by cutting beer duty 1p from Sunday evening.

Phil Cutter, landlord at The Murderers in Norwich, said: “I don’t think there’s a single pub up and down the country which has not let out a cheer now the beer duty escalator has been scrapped.

“It’s a step in the right direction but it doesn’t resolve the disparity between the price we pay in pubs compared to supermarkets. But it’s a starting point.”

For more reaction and analysis from landlords and the pub industry, including whether a cut in pint prices will follow, see tomorrow’s papers.

3 comments

  • Why the cautious welcome? things in the pub trade will get far worse with wine going up 10p, a bottle of spirits up by 38p, cider by 2p a pint.

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    John L Norton

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

  • I don't suppose for one minute that pub beer prices won't go up again soon. If the Chancellor isn't pushing prices up, then the greedy publicans are. Almost all pubs are just one massive rip-off, and I for one am sick of pouring money into landlords' pockets. Only farmers, bankers and hedge-fund managers can afford to go to pubs these days, and they're not my kind of people.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

  • What about the Wine and Spirit Association?

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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