Sunday, 26 August 2012


A lot has been written recently about pub closures in the UK, either for urban development as in the case of the Brewery Tap in Peterborough (a campaign to stop the bulldozers knocking down the Brewery Tap, as part of Peterborough’s North Westgate development has been running for at least 6 years) or as a result of financial sustainability – some pubs just can’t make ends meet in today’s harsh economic climate. The Brewery Tap, near to both rail and National Express stations, is a welcome bolthole after the 4+ hour coach trip on the X1 from Gorleston-on-Sea…

Recent concerns have rightly been expressed about the current hike in beer duty – and in particular the Beer duty escalator – which sees around 5% added to the cost of your pint each year as an automatic increase. In fact the legislation means that beer can be set at 2% above the current inflation rate each Budget and as a result Beer duty has now risen by 42% since the escalator policy was introduced just four years ago. It has meant the loss of over 5,000 jobs this year in the brewing industry, and hundreds of pub closures. A third of the cost of my pint now goes to HM Exchequer. 
Wonder whose minding
the kids?
Chloe Smith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, in a staggering piece of flawed logic has said “The duty increase forms a vital part of the government’s plan to tackle the debt left by the previous government. It would be worse for everybody if we did not tackle that debt. I mean beer drinkers, cider drinkers, spirit drinkers, wine drinkers, brewers and publicans.”

It would seem therefore that as a beer consumer I have an obligation to bail this country out from the financial mess caused by continued Government mismanagement and greedy bankers and at the same time have faith in an administration whose leader is not averse to leaving one of his offspring in a public house (at least it was open) and handed over £650m of UK money to help schools in Pakistan, whilst freezing funds for the maintenance of schools in the UK. It seems that the UK taxpayerr subsidises MPs' bars and canteens in Westminster to the tune of £5.8m a year. Another kick in the proverbials for the beer drinker! Surely subsidised parliamentary bars are now an anachronism if we take Chloe Smith’s comments into account concerning our economic plight. I suggest Chloe Smith turns to somewhere closer to home as a proving ground for her plan to continually hike beer prices. Where better than the House of Commons bars? Stick the price of a pint in the Strangers' Bar at Westminster up to a tenner, and see how it affects beer consumption in the House?

I have paid sufficient tax on my beer since my teens to fund half an Olympic village, at least 5 Royal Navy Sea King helicopters and an NHS maternity unit in Runcorn! I am now expected to contribute to this and previous Government’s mismanagement of the economy - a situation not of my making - by an unfair hike in the price of a pint each fiscal year.


Brewery Tap
80 Westgate
Tel: 01733 358500


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    X1 - James Paget University Hospital to Peterborough


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