MPs launch fight to protect growing beer industry from Budget penalties
MPs have launched a campaign last night to stop the Chancellor undermining the region’s growing beer industry in his Budget later this month.
They want George Osborne to abandon the planned five per cent tax hike – claiming this will save 16,000 jobs over the next three years.
A Commons motion to suspend the proposed rise – known as the beer duty escalator – has been supported by MPs from all parties.
The region’s brewing industry has grown exponentially in the past decade, with several successful brewers expanding and a slew of artisan beermakers opening businesses.
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Tory MP James Gray said last night that the beer and pub sector supports 888 jobs in his North Wiltshire constituency, including 195 for 18-24-year-olds, who have been hardest hit by the economic slowdown.
It adds £27.7 million to the local economy and already contributes almost £13 million in taxes to the Treasury.
Mr Gray said: “These figures show how important the brewing and pub sector is to North Wiltshire.
“I hope the Chancellor will take action to protect these jobs by scrapping the beer duty escalator. This will help our much-loved local pubs, the communities they serve and the important local facilities they provide.”
Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson and North Dorset Tory Robert Walter also back the campaign, which is supported by the British Beer & Pub Association, the Campaign for Real Ale and the Society of Independent Brewers.
And Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie has signed the Commons motion, which says that 2012 is a year of national celebration, and the perfect time to recognise the value of the British beer and pub industry.