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Pub campaigners head to Parliament

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is heading to Westminster today to lobby Parliament as part of its campaign to scrap the beer tax escalator.

Camra claims that the escalator, which raises beer duty by 2% above inflation, is one of biggest threats to the UK pub industry in the last 40 years.

The escalator was introduced in 2008 by the last Labour Government, and Camra says since then more than 5,800 pubs have closed and the number of pub-goers has fallen by three million.

Colin Valentine, Camra’s chairman, said: “Over the past 40 years there have been few threats to the UK pub industry as severe as the beer duty escalator, which is why so many of our members from across the country have travelled to Westminster to participate in today’s lobby.

“Even after a Government e-petition reaching 100,000 signatures, and a parliamentary debate where MPs present unanimously backed a review of the beer duty escalator, the Government do not appear to have woken up to the crippling social and economic impact their actions are having on valued community pubs.

“With the nation’s pub closure rate back on the increase, what the Government should be doing is looking at ways to alleviate the burden on struggling pubs, and further recognise their importance as community assets.

“Such a huge decline in the number of regular pub-goers is a critical reminder that change needs to happen fast to prevent irreparable damage to community life in the UK, and to save the nation’s proud pub-going heritage from being taxed into oblivion.”

According to Camra since the escalator was introduced by then chancellor Alistair Darling in 2008 tax on beer has increased by more than 40%, with over a third of every pint pulled in a pub now paid in duty and VAT.

Camra said it hopes more than 1,000 members will take part in the event, which is describes as “the biggest campaigning event in its 40-year history”.

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