Supporters joined our Mash Beer Tax campaign in Exeter last night. Students from the University of Exeter raised pints and our beer mats at the Mill on the Exe pub. With students paying hefty fees, there is little patience with the government automatically hiking taxes on one of their great pleasures.
‘Students will be hit hardest by a rise in beer duty,’ says history student Jonathan Bennett, ‘and it won’t have the desired effect that those advocating it want. Students will continue to drink as much as they always have done and will fund it by making cuts in their spending elsewhere, to avoid going further into debt.’
Similar concerns were voiced by student Liam Taylor. ‘A rise in beer duty hits those who can afford it the least,’ he says. ‘Beer tax is a regressive tax that will hit poor people and students disproportionately hard. It will not have any effect on the amount students drink on a night out but will simply make everyone poorer.'’
On the night, students were very impressed with the ease with which they could send letter protesting about the beer tax to their local MP simply by visiting mashbeertax.org on their phones. ‘I’ve done it!’ said student Scott Pepe with his phone in one hand and pint in the other. ‘I’ve written to my MP while I’m having a beer! That’s impressive.’
Local newspaper Exeter Express & Echo joined us at the launch, saying that the Beer Duty Escalator has an enormously negative impact on local breweries as well as pubs.