Save British Beer

The beer duty escalator was introduced by the last Government in 2008, and is currently in place until 2014/15. It means that beer duty is automatically increased by 2% above inflation every single year which in this year’s budget meant the beer duty on beer rose by 5%. On top of this you are paying 20% VAT, whereas other European countries have a reduced VAT rate for the hospitality industry as they can see how it benefits their economy. As a result, tax on beer has gone up by over 40% since 2008. You now pay over a third of your pint on tax.

In the last few budgets when the chancellor said he is making no changes to tax on beer, he has meant that he is following the previous governments policy where duty is increase by 2% above inflation. In Abingdon, this has meant that pubs that used to charge 3.20 a pint are now having to charge 3.30 a pint since the budget last month.

Any more increases in beer duty will increase the pressure on pubs already struggling to survive and damage the long term ability of the beer and pub sector to continue contributing over 6 billion a year in duty and VAT, and over 21 billion to the UKs GDP.

You can help persuade the government that this is a bad thing for the UK economy and the national heritage of British cask conditioned beer which is unique to Britain by signing the petition at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29664 or read more about it at saveyourpint.co.uk. If 100,000 people sign the petition it will then be debated in the house of commons and have a good chance of being changed. At the moment about 30,000 people have signed it, so it needs a few more to reach the required number.

Save Your Pint - Sign the E-Petition

E-petition to Protect diversity of our town centres

Saturday’s protest in Abingdon against Tesco turning the former Ox pub into a Tesco Direct as reported in the Oxford Mail yesterday and the Abingdon Blog seemed to go well, although unfortunately I was unable to attend as I was still working as a volunteer at the Great British Beer Festival.

An e-petition has now been set up by recently elected Abingdon town councillor Iain Littlejohn asking the government to pass laws allowing local councils to have some power to prevent pubs and similar properties from changing use. Current laws mean the town and district councils are powerless to do anything to prevent a pub being turned into a shop.

Please go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/4922 to sign it. I have signed e-petitions before and they do get looked at and replied to by the relevant minister and if more than 100,000 people sign, it will get debated in the house of commons.

The full wording is:

Give town councils the power to use planning process to protect the diversity and individual character of town centres. Currently multiple retailers are able to set up in high streets regardless of the impact on independent retailers. Planning authorities are not currently able to prevent this happening and as such many towns centres are becoming clone towns. Similarly many pubs are being converted to convenience stores owned by multiple retailers with little consideration of their long term impact on the community. Specifically we would like to see: 1. Town councils gain right to designate their town centre for diversity protection 2. Impact on the character of the town to become a legitimate reason for rejecting an application in towns designated for diversity protection 3. All retailers wishing to locate in designated towns required to submit planning application 4. Move from public house to other form of retail to be regarded as a change of use

It may be too late to save The Ox and The Fitzharris, but signing the petition could prevent the same thing happening to other pubs elsewhere.