As a supporter (and customer!) of Crawley’s pub trade I was pleased to reiterate my support recently for the Long Live the Local campaign.
Following the Government’s freezes in duties, I am continuing to back their calls for beer duty to be cut.
At an event last week I was pleased to be named as a Beer Champion by the British Beer & Pub Association. While this is in kind recognition of my support for Government action which secured thousands of jobs and millions of pounds worth of investment in the brewing and pubs sector, it serves as a reminder that there is more that Parliament can do to underline its support for the industry.
This is, of course, in stark contrast to the beer duty escalator which came in when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister.
This year, the price of a typical pint of beer is 2 pence lower than it would have been had duty increased with inflation, and 14 pence lower than it would have been since ending the beer duty escalator in 2013.
In this country we pay 40 per cent of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12 per cent of the beer. Indeed, compared to Germany we pay twelve times the level of beer tax on each pint.
We are also seeing many small pubs benefiting from the business rates retail discount announced last year. This slashes bills by a third for eligible businesses from 2019 for two years, and is available to those businesses with a rateable value below £51,000.
There are more than 1,400 jobs connected to the 39 pubs in Crawley, which contribute over £34 million to the local economy per year.
Campaigning for a better deal is a cause I will continue to support on behalf of Crawley pubs and patrons.
Henry Smith MP