Publican fighting ‘unfair’ beer tax
A PUBLICAN is launching a campaign in Lutterworth in a bid to force the Government to reduce the tax on beer.
Ken Seymour, landlord of The Fox, says the continuing two per cent rise above the rate of inflation on alcohol - equivalent to about 5p a pint - is destroying the traditional British pub.
He is setting up a website to encourage landlords and pub-goers in Lutterworth to show the Government the strength of feeling in the town over the issue.
He is also backing the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Save Your Pint campaign.
The group is hoping to secure more than 100,000 signatures on the Beer Tax E-Petition, launched recently by Marston’s Brewery with the aim of influencing the Budget in 2013.
Mr Seymour, a former town mayor, said chancellor George Osborne’s budget speech last week had been misleading, because it gave the impression there would be no rise on alcohol, when there has been an agreement since 2008 that duties would rise each year at 2 per cent about the rate of inflation - the so-called beer escalator.
Mr Seymour told the Mail: “Everyone is working very hard at the moment - in all industries - and to increase the tax on those things that give us all a bit of relaxation is extremely unfair and not very good leadership. We’ve got to allow people to enjoy themselves as well as work hard - otherwise you get discontent.
“I understand the economic climate and the need to raise cash to try to overcome the problems that we have but the Government needs to be more creative, rather than putting upon the hard working people who want to relax with a couple of drinks after work.”
The Government this week announced plans to introduce a minimum price of 40p per unit of alcohol in an effort to tackle binge drinking.
The proposal has been broadly welcomed by the pub industry as it would reduce the amount by which supermarkets could undercut pubs on alcohol sales.
But Mr Seymour said the proposals do not go far enough and warned the Government’s policies threaten the centuries-old tradition of the British pub being at the heart of the community.
He said he would be writing to pubs in Lutterworth to persuade them to back his campaign.
“I’m encouraging everyone to sign CAMRA’s e-petition,” said Mr Seymour.
“But we also want to be able to say to the Government, as a town, that enough is enough.”
CAMRA says about £1 on every pint sold goes to the Treasury in beer duty and VAT.
The group’s chief executive Mike Benner said: “British beer in a pub is so heavily hit with duty and VAT, the tax man’s whirlwind hikes translate to him guzzling a third of every pint served, a shadow cast over the beer drinker depriving people of an affordable night down their local.”
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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