This is the reply I received from my MP, David Chaytor, after contacting him about the Axe The Beer Tax campaign.
Thank you for your recent e-mail on beer taxation and its impact on pubs. I read with interest the five point plan put forward by Axe the Beer Tax for the revival of British pubs.
I share the concerns of many other members of the public regarding beers sales being down to their lowest level for nearly 40 years. Bury contains many fine pubs, though sadly I am aware that some of the more well known have closed their doors in the last year.
I do recognise the valuable contribution that the pub industry makes to employment, the life of local communities and to the economy. I’m also aware of the pressures that pubs face with increasing costs and the impact of legislation. It is also true that the pub market is continuously changing, with shifting tastes and consumer preferences all affecting the demand for beer.
However, recent tax changes should be seen alongside action on the economy that will also benefit all businesses including pubs. Pubs will be able to benefit from a range of measures to support small businesses, and many small local breweries already benefit from a lower rate of alcohol duty because of the small brewery relief introduced in 2002.
The recent tax changes also mean that households have on average an extra £20 a month to spend – over £12 billion for the wider economy - supporting spending and consumption further. This will help to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and businesses, including those in the pub industry.
Please be assured that I will continue to support these and other measures that help the businesses and the people who make the British pub such an important part of our national life.
Thank you for writing to me about this important matter.