Another nail in the pub's coffin
and hikes up beer duty again
Chancellor Alistair Darling has hammered another large nail in the coffin of the pub trade with a 2% increase in beer duty in today's (22 April) budget. In effect it means around 10 pence on the price of a pint and in some parts of the country beer will now cost as much as £3.50 for a pint.
You can hear the stampede as drinkers run screaming to their nearest supermarkets to load up with cheap, heavily discounted beer.
Today's increase follows two last year that added 18% in duty on beer. Is it any wonder that 40 pubs a week are closing, unable to compete with the giveaway booze offered by the major supermarkets.
Darling and his chum Brown are ever anxious to bale out big business in the shape of banks and the car industry. But if it's the likes of Woolworths or the Dog & Duck, used by millions of people, many on low incomes, then no help is forthcoming.
Intense lobbying by the brewing industry and the pub trade have made it clear to Darling that any further increase in beer duty can only result in more pubs closing. He is impervious to the arguments. 45,000 jobs have been lost in brewing and retailing in the past five years and the same number is expected to go over the next five years.
And any notion that increasing the duty on alcohol will prohibit the activities of the small minority who indulge in binge drinking is nonsense. On the contrary, the increase will encourage supermarket sales and the flow of cheap alcohol to those who abuse it.
Rush to your nearest pub -- while it's still there.