Supporters of our Mash Beer Tax campaign gathered in Bristol and Bath last night. In Bristol, students joined us for a pint and raised our beermats at The White Bear in Clifton to show their support for a vital aspect of their university social life!
‘Student budgets can be pretty tight,’ says student Jennifer Salisbury-Jones. ‘An increase in beer duty won't reduce drinking but will encourage some students to make further cutbacks elsewhere, which will all hit the local economy.’
White Bear pub manager Ben Daly says the profit margin for running a pub is getting narrower. ‘We are working so hard just to stand still,’ he says. ‘In this pub we’ve got a little theatre and do so much to attract students, but just when you think you’re getting a little bit ahead and can invest more in the business, along comes another hike in beer tax and business rates. It can’t go on like this.’
In Bath, independent pubs, along with shops and restaurants, are feeling the squeeze as the Government takes more and more. ‘They need to get real,’ says David Gledhill, leader of the local Federation of Small Businesses, joining us for a beer in The Raven pub in central Bath. ‘It’s a different economic environment now and they can’t keep automatically rising taxes and business rates—it’s decimating independents.’
Outlying villages around Bath have seen many of their community pubs close in recent years. ‘Beer duty really impacts on village pubs,’ says Rod Humphris, landlord of The Raven. ‘It makes it so much harder for free houses to survive. Every beer you buy in a pub like ours helps support a whole lot of local breweries, local jobs, so the beer duty is not just impacting beer drinkers but the whole community.’
And it’s little unique breweries and suppliers that help make cities like Bath and Bristol so attractive for visitors from around the country and the world. Give them a break Chancellor, and help our economy recover—that’s the message from Bristol and Bath pubs!
Write to your MP by visiting mashbeertax.org. Let them know they should be putting pressure on George Osorne to freeze the drinks duty in March's Budget.