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Budget 2014: Call for beer duty freeze

PUBLISHED: 13:25 18 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:25 18 March 2014

Could beer duty rise again? Waveney MP Peter Aldous believes not

Could beer duty rise again? Waveney MP Peter Aldous believes not

Waveney MP Peter Aldous has written to the Treasury to call for a freeze or further reduction in beer duty on the brewing and pub sector, which he said would help retain more than 900,000 jobs.

In his letter to Sajid Javid, financial secretary to the Treasury, Mr Aldous said the need for further action was made important by the fact that there has been a decrease in investment in the beer industry, a poor harvest, a rise in energy costs and a fall in household incomes, which have led a third of pubs to close in the last four years.

He said: “Pubs make an important contribution to local communities and the wider economy - they provide both local employment and promote responsible drinking. They are part of the fabric of local life and an important source of enterprise, business and community action. I have witnessed first-hand the consequences of this alleviated tax in the Waveney area and believe that this is an opportunity to bring fairness into the pub industry and support breweries.”

Owner of the Rose Inn on Queens Road, Dawn Hopkins, said: “In the past three years our city’s pub scene has suffered irreparably because gone of the tough economic conditions. That means we need help and we need it now.

“That’s why publican and punter alike want to see the alcohol duty escalator scrapped.

“But even that might not be enough. That’s why I think the Chancellor needs to cut VAT on pub purchased drinks. Then we’d have fighting chance against supermarkets and a real chance of survival.”

Labour’s Norwich South Parliamentary Candidate, Clive Lewis said: “Whether in the pub or campaigning on the doorstep, the price of a drink in your local is a real issue for many. But this isn’t just about calling for what’s popular. Giving our local drinks industry the help it needs will also act as an economic boost for our local economy.”

• Suffolk’s flood defences are due to receive a boost in this week’s Budget, click here for more.
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