100,000 sign beer duty e-petition

BeerAn e-petition to scrap the beer duty escalator has reached the target of 100,000 signatures with the aim of prompting a parliamentary debate, a campaign group said.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said it was "delighted" to become the 12th Government e-petition out of 16,000 submitted to reach the figure.

The escalator, introduced in 2008 by former chancellor Alistair Darling, puts up the tax on a pint by 2% above inflation every year, resulting in a 42% hike since the measure was brought in.

The petition - which Camra said was signed by more than 15,000 beer drinkers at the Great British Beer Festival at London's Olympia last month - should prompt a debate in the Commons, although this is not automatic.

The group is to hold a mass parliamentary lobby at Westminster on December 12 and expects more than 1,000 supporters to attend in opposition to the tax increases.

Camra national chairman Colin Valentine said: "Joining a very small minority of e-petitions to have ever reached the 100,000 landmark is a mammoth achievement and it's been fantastic to witness the beer and pub industry uniting to fight back against this issue.

"Over the last six months, Camra has been collecting signatures at beer festivals, organising local campaigning events, as well as supplying pubs with petition material.

"With all the battering it has taken, the beer and pub sector still manages to contribute over £21 billion a year to the UK's GDP, and supports one million jobs, so it's about time the Government honoured its pledge to be 'pub friendly'."

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "Thanks to the huge numbers who are supporting the campaign, this should be a real wake-up call to Government.

"I hope even more people will now sign, as further huge annual tax hikes must not go ahead. They are hurting pubs and destroying our ability to create much-needed jobs."

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