Thursday, 2 August 2012


Aint had a rant for a while.However, from time to time, one is totally necessary.
In this particular case, I felt it necessary, simply to highlight a quite ridiculous and unfair response, by the Tory MP for Norwich North, Chloe Smith, to a question raised by fellow MP's, in relation to the beer duty escalator.(I am of no political persuasion. Just feel very passionate about real ale) :-) 
Let me explain. It was firstly brought to my attention by the respected beer writer, Roger Protz, in the latest edition of 'What's Brewing'. Thankfully, the paper put it on their front page and Roger, quite rightly made a big issue of her blinkered, out of touch response! And I thought it necessary to highlight this to the wider audience. 
The theme of the question put to her was 'Why does the government automatically increase duty on beer in the annual budget, without even debating it in Parliament?'  
The response was unbelievable in the extreme, quite breathtaking. She answered ''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, spirits drinkers, wine drinkers, brewers and publicans.''

This is not a spoof, a wind up, or a joke! That was the answer, word for word. What planet is she on? Why should we pick up the tab. Targeting beer and cider drinkers is grossly unfair. Does she not realise the life is being squeezed from the beer industry. We already pay duty of 55p in the pound ! France pay 7p, Germany  and Spain 5p!
So, I think you have a bloody nerve, by bleating that us beer drinkers have to stump up and foot the bill for government mismanagement.
She obviously does not get it. What happens when the duty increases. Less people go in pubs, so there is less duty and a reduction on VAT receipts for food and drink in the boozer. 
The Treasury are obviously in the dumb class when it come to maths, as they quite simply lose more when they increase the duty!
Look Miss Smith, brewing and pub retailing in the UK is being driven to despair, as a result of government taxation. You said the treasury would lose £35 million in 2013 if the escalator was scrapped. How did you calculate this figure? What a load of garbage!
Finally, before I step off my soap box, your government promised to be ''pub friendly''. What a load of bollocks! The escalator only forces boozers to close and people to lose their jobs and livelihood. Come on, get in the real world, beer taxation is unfair in the extreme. Tell your chums in the treasury to do a U turn. Let's face it, it will not be the first one, in recent times!    

Please sign the petition on the beer escalator. We need 100,000 to force the debate in Parliament.We have reached 70,000. The website is  Cheers :-)