CAMRA takes duty campaign to Strasbourg

The Campaign for Real Ale is meeting EU bosses to lobby for greater support for UK brewers and cidermakers, as the group looks to revitalise its campaigning activities.

Camra was initial set up to campaign for better quality beer, but it has since become a voice for the pub industry and beer drinkers as a whole (Photo: Camra)

Camra was initial set up to campaign for better quality beer, but it has since become a voice for the pub industry and beer drinkers as a whole (Photo: Camra)

CAMRA representatives are travelling to Strasbourg – the home of Alsace brewing – tomorrow to meet Pierre Moscovici, the EU Commissioner responsible for Excise Duty. They will join MEPs Anneliese Dodds and Clare Moody to discuss proposed changes to the EU Directive on Excise Duty for Alcohol and press for more support for brewers and cider producers in Britain.

The meeting aims to influence current consultations into revision of the current EU Directive, which is now over twenty years old. The group is lobbying for a range of relief measures. These include allowing the UK to retain the current exemption on duty for small cider producers making less than 7000 litres per year, and introducing a sliding scale of duty similar to Small Breweries’ Relief to support medium-sized producers.

They are also pushing for the UK to be allowed to apply a differential rate of duty on draught real ale and cider served in the on-trade, to help encourage a shift in consumption back to pubs, and to be allowed to raise the threshold for a lower rate of duty on beer from 2.8% to 3.5% to encompass a wider variety of beers and real ales.

CAMRA Chief Executive Tim Page said: “The current Directive hasn’t been updated since 1992 and yet the beer and cider industry has moved on significantly since then. There are a number of issues facing brewers and cider makers that need to be addressed – particularly for those who are hoping to expand their business.”

The meeting comes as the Campaign for Real Ale is in the midst of a major consultation campaign to redefine its aims and secure its future. The ‘Revitalisation Project’ is asking members to decide whether CAMRA should in future represent all beer drinkers, all pubgoers, or even all drinkers, and whether their campaign to promote real cider should be split off into a separate organisation. Within a week of launching the project, twelve thousand members had already responded to the consultation.

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