MPs will debate crippling effect of beer duty escalator
Written by JOSH TAYLOR
BRITAIN’S ‘crippling’ levels of beer tax will be debated by MPs in the House of Commons next week.
Tory backbencher Andrew Griffiths, who represents Burton, will be among politicians calling for the beer duty escalator to be scrapped by the Treasury.
The escalator sees around 10p of tax added to a pint of beer each spring, but experts have warned these hikes are driving drinkers away and hurting the industry.
Mr Griffiths told the Mail he hoped to speak during the debate on July 2, which has been secured by South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson.
Mr Griffiths, chairman of the parliamentary beer group, said: “Gavin and I are concerned about the impact high taxes are having on the brewing industry in Burton and elsewhere.
“This debate will be the perfect opportunity to draw the Treasury’s attention to the crippling effect such high taxes are having on brewing and beer consumption.”
Mr Williamson, whose constituency contains the Marston’s-owned Bank’s brewery, will open the debate but other MPs will be allowed to intervene.
A Treasury minister, most likely Chloe Smith, will then respond on behalf of the Government.
Mr Griffiths spoke in the Commons the day after Chancellor George Osborne’s March budget and criticised the Government’s failure to cancel the beer duty escalator.
The escalator was introduced by the Labour administration in 2008 and beer duty in Britain has risen by 40 per cent since.
Mr Griffiths said: “Britons drink an eighth of Europe’s beer yet pay 40 per cent of all beer duty levied in Europe. This is a situation which cannot be allowed to continue.
“It was a mistake for George Osborne to continue with the duty escalator introduced by Labour.” The escalator works by increasing tax on beer by two per cent plus the rate of inflation.
An online petition to abolish the escalator has so far been signed by just under 60,000 people.