A petition to combat the “unfair and extortionate” tax on real ales has been launched at Devon County Show by a leading Westcountry brewer.
Patrick McCaig of Otter Brewery, based in Luppitt, East Devon, said that tax on cask ales had risen by 42 per cent in four years.
“This damaging tax is causing pubs to close and harming communities,” he said.
Mr McCaig explained that he would be asking all the visitors to the show’s real ales bar to sign up to a petition calling for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to rethink beer duty. “Every year, on budget day, the Chancellor raises beer duty by 2 per cent over inflation,” he said. “Now, half the cost of a pint of beer sold by brewers and pub landlords goes to George Osborne.
“It’s madness. Brits now pay the second-highest rate of beer tax in the EU.
“Yes, there is a case for alcohol taxes to prevent health damage and drunkenness from people buying very cheap booze in supermarkets. But real ale drinkers commonly pay at least £3 a pint in pubs and are responsible drinkers.”
He added: “People who love real ale can only buy it at its best when served draught in a pub. The tradition of going to your local pub for a pint or two regularly for a catch-up with friends is seriously under threat, with the cost of a pint being driven up repeatedly by unfair tax increases. This is threatening communities and causing pubs to close.
“Brewing and pubs support one million jobs in the UK. More than 4,500 UK pubs have closed since 2008 when this new tax system was introduced.”
To sign the petition, visit camra.org.uk/saveyourpint