Defending the pub

November 27, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

If the plight of the humble British pub was in a bad shape at the time of writing this post, I think its safe to say that Alistair Darling’s decision to stick an extra 8% on alcohol excise duty will contribute to even more old-fashioned boozers being bankrupted.

Sniffing an opportunity to make nice with their alcohol-soaked community-minded constituents, posts have popped up on both LabourHome and Lib Dem Voice protesting the move and imporing the government to reverse the tax hike, less more small businesses be forced to call last orders for the final time. I’ll let Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster take things from here:

Britain’s community pubs have been closing at an unprecedented rate in recent months. And all too often, in the debate about the small minority of premises that give the trade a bad name, we forget all the good work that pubs do in their local communities. Local pubs do a great job in raising money for charity and good causes, acting as the heart of their community, and drawing tourists to Britain.

However, there is genuine concern about excessive alcohol consumption, particularly that caused by people buying large quantities of very cheap alcohol from supermarkets and off-licences, and the impact that this is having on behaviour in public places. I share those anxieties, but I do not believe that year-on-year, above-inflation tax increases on beer are the solution to the problem. That is why the Liberal Democrats tabled amendments to the House of Commons Finance Bill to try and prevent these increases.

I am concerned that these rises in beer duty will harm pubs which are already struggling in difficult economic circumstances. There is also little evidence to suggest that these higher taxes will have a significant impact on binge drinking. (More here)

Every good cause needs a website, of course, and so if you click your way over to Axe The Beer Tax you’ll find all sorts of information with which begin the rearguard action against our puritanical, tax-happy technocrats. You know what to do.

Image by Flickr user Happy Dave (Creative Commons)

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  1. […] as I’ve noted twice before, today’s Britain is not a good place to try to make a living from serving alcohol. […]

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