Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Budget Blues

As the country awaits one of the grimmest budgets ever, there is much interest in the trade press in whether the Chancellor will scrap the beer duty escalator. While there is little doubt that this is a regressive and unfair tax that will do long term damage to beer drinking in pubs, the fiscal reality is that Mr Darling needs cash now. Longer term damage to the pub sector (if it is ever tackled at all which is doubtful) will have to be dealt with by the next government and it ain't likely to be this one. Not Mr D's worry then.

So given the pleadings of the industry, will he scrap or ameliorate the escalator, which since the Chancellor increased duty by 18% last year has seen 2,000 pubs closing with the loss of 20,000 jobs? I fear not. The need to balance the books will overcome any such inclination.

Prepare to pay more for your pint.

Click here to see Mike (No Beard) Benner Chief Exec of CAMRA pleading the "Don't do it" case.


Ed said...

Sadly I think you're right. This governements pretty puritanical anyway, and being short of cash too they're bound to hit drinkers again.

The Beer Nut said...

I think I'd find the campaign against higher tax on beer in the UK rather more credible if it didn't didn't give the impression that tax revenue is taken away by the government and just buried somewhere.

Tandleman said...

Given the state of our economy, it might have been much better if it had been.

As long as the dumb clucks remembered where they'd buried it.

Curmudgeon said...

I've seen various reports that beer duty has now reached the point of diminishing returns, where increasing it further actually cuts revenue as people either drink less or turn to imports (either legitimate or smuggled). The objectives of cutting consumption and maximising revenue may come into conflict.

Paul Garrard said...

Beer Nut you are so right.