UK: Government set to ignore MPs' vote on beer tax
MPs voted in favour of a review of the duty escalator in Parliament today
The UK government has hinted that it will ignore fresh calls to scrap the beer duty escalator.
MPs today (1 November) voted in favour of a review of the policy following a three-hour debate in the House of Commons. The escalator, which has been place since March 2008, means alcohol duties are raised 2% above inflation each year until 2014.
The UK pub and brewing industry argues the measure has contributed significantly to the demise in the number of on-trade outlets in recent years, by pushing up the price of a pint.
Despite today's vote and impassioned pleas from MPs, a Treasury spokesperson told just-drinks: “At a time when we working hard to get down the deficit, alcohol duty revenues do make an important contribution to the public finances.
“Crucially, the government has not made any changes beyond what was announced at the Budget in 2008.”
The government does not have to act on the vote, just-drinks understands.
But the British Beer & Pub Association said it hopes the government will announce a re-think of the policy in light of today's vote.
Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “I am confident that any review, which we hope the government will announce, will show that above-inflation increases in beer tax do not make sense – they would bring in no additional revenue for the Treasury, but at the same time threaten pubs, employment, and our great British brewing and pub industry."
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