Since 2008, beer duty has gone up by an incredible 26%, and VAT has risen by a third from 15% to 20%. In 2008, the Government also introduced the “beer duty escalator”, which automatically increases beer duty by an additional 2% above inflation every year. This year, that would mean a further 7% tax rise and would put 10p on a pint in the pub. CAMRA has forecast that, with duty and VAT on a typical pint approaching £1, the average price of a pint of real ale in the pub could reach £2.90 in 2011 - up from £2.45 in 2008.
The simple fact is that further increases in beer tax will simply result in ordinary people spending less on beer, as it is increasingly becoming prohibitive for people on restricted incomes, and there will be little or no net revenue gain. It also will not deter the binge drinkers and alcoholics. We have reached (if not gone beyond) the point of diminishing returns, and the cost in terms of lost pubs (which are small businesses, and this government is supposed to be pro-business), lost jobs, lost homes for some licensees and lost focal points for communities, will far outweigh any minimal tax benefits. For all these reasons, the argument about the size of Britain's debt doesn't apply here.
Britain’s beer drinkers are paying 40% of the entire beer duty bill in the European Union, which means the other 26 states combined pay 60% - more details here. If you think this is unfair, why not e-mail your MP? It will take only a minute or two. This lobbying campaign is organised by CAMRA, but you don't have to be a member to take part (just delete 'and as a member of CAMRA' from the first line of the text of the e-mail). You can e-mail your MP here.