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Petition sees MPs given chance to debate beer tax

Wednesday 24th October 2012 (Andrew Griffiths)

THE fight to abolish a controversial beer tax has been taken to the heart of Government as MPs won a three-hour debate in Parliament.

Politicians, led by Burton’s Conservative Andrew Griffiths, made their case for scrapping the beer duty escalator, which adds an estimated 10p tax to the cost of a pint every year.

The group of 26 MPs tabled their motion after a petition calling on Chancellor George Osborne to axe the duty escalator received 100,000 signatures, triggering a House of Commons debate.

Mr Griffiths, chairman of the parliamentary beer group, said: “This is a big chance to get the beer duty escalator scrapped once and for all.” The draft motion was handed to the backbench business committee, which decides what is debated in Parliament and when, yesterday afternoon.

Treasury minister Sajid Javid is expected to be called to appear before the Commons to answer questions on behalf of the Government during the debate on Thursday, November 1.

The motion claims the duty escalator, introduced by Labour in 2008 but not cancelled since, has caused taxes on beer to rise by 42 per cent in just four years.

The Government defied calls in its March budget to cancel the escalator, which sees duty increase by two per cent plus the rate of inflation each year.

The motion, led by Mr Griffiths and Liberal Democrat Greg Mullholland, urges Parliament to ‘welcome the essential role of brewing and pubs to the UK’s economy in providing one million jobs’ and voice its concern about ‘the effectiveness of this policy in tackling the budget deficit’.

The motion also says the beer duty escalator has had an adverse impact on ‘valued community pubs and the continued affordability of beer in pubs’.

It finishes by demanding a ‘thorough review of the economic and social impact of the beer duty escalator’.

The MPs request this review is finished before the 2013 budget.

The Mail reported earlier this year how the Campaign for Real Ale’s petition, posted on the Government website, had become only the 16th such petition to receive 100,000 signatures.

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