Yesterday, nearly 1000 people travelled to Westminster to join The Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) mass lobby of Parliament, calling on the Chancellor to abandon the beer duty escalator in the next Budget.
Michael met with four Barnsley members of CAMRA who were taking part in the lobby: Phil Gregg, Eric Gilbert, Linda Hutton and Nigel Croft.
Commenting, Michael said:
“It was great to meet Barnsley CAMRA members in Parliament. Labour has said it would support a review of the Beer Duty Escalator and its impact on the economy and jobs in the pub trade, but that this would clearly need to examine the impact of VAT as well as this amounts to half of the total tax paid on beer in pubs.
“The VAT rise increased the price of a pint in a pub by 5p - whilst increasing the price of a can of beer in a supermarket by less than 2p. This has hit pubs hard - and by hitting pubs harder than supermarkets risks hitting the pub trade harder than duty increases.
“As part of Labour’s 5 point plan for jobs and growth, we have called for a temporary and emergency cut in VAT back to 17.5 per cent until the economy is growing strongly again - easing the squeeze on families and getting the economy moving again. The Government clearly made a serious mistake in increasing VAT in January 2011 and a cut would cut the price of beer in a pub by over 5p - whilst cutting the price of supermarket beer by around the same amount as freezing duty. This would be a more effective way of getting the economy moving again.”