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EATING & DRINKING

UK pub closures fall!

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted February 04, 2016
european beer tax comparisons
Save our pubs: Cut that bleddy tax, boy. Now! © CAMRA

New CAMRA stats show slight drop in UK pub closures but beer tax cuts still needed to aid 'fragile recovery'.



According to new figures published by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)1, the number of pub closures in the UK fell to 27 a week over the second half of 2015, down from 29 per week during the preceding six-month period.

However, while this also represents a fall from the 28-per-week closure rate recorded in 2014, it is still far too high and much higher than the 2011 figure of 16 a week.

More on all that here, by the way.


CUT THAT TAX!
Anyway, to "help reinforce [this] fragile recovery," CAMRA, so a press release says, is calling on the government to make further beer tax cuts in the 2016 UK Budget this coming March 16.

And given what the above infographic has to say, we here at the Rake & Herald reckon there's plenty of room for them.

A good 50p-per-pint's ($0.74) worth of room, in fact.

If not more.

But now back to the press release, which states that a report last year from the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR) "showed pubs and drinkers would benefit from a cut in beer tax – conclusions supported by the improving figures".

Available to freely download as a PDF here, the report also found that "beer would have increased by 16p a pint, more than 1,000 additional pubs would have closed, 750m fewer pints would have been sold and 26,000 jobs would have not been created had the beer tax not been cut in 2014".

Consequently, CAMRA is now "calling on the government to continue and strengthen its support for pubs by further cutting tax to help keep beer affordable and pubs open".

What's more, with more than 3,000 of its members having "already lobbied their MPs to call for a reduction in beer duty", CAMRA is also "urging as many people as possible" to make their views known to the men in grey suits by signing an online petition (from where we nabbed the aforementioned infographic).


"It's pleasing to see that our campaigning to protect community pubs is having an effect" – Tim Page.




FRAGILE RECOVERY
"The latest figures show that the work of campaigners across CAMRA, the wider pub and beer industry and the government is taking effect and arresting the decline in the number of pubs being lost every week," says CAMRA CEO Tim Page.

"However, it's a fragile recovery which could very quickly be reversed if the government fails to build on this positive development and misses the chance to support the British pub and beer industry by reducing tax again."

"The report produced by CEBR for CAMRA at the start of 2015 showed how cutting beer tax would have a great economic benefit for the country and the reduction in closure numbers is further proof that the chancellor's decision was a good one."

"It's pleasing to see that our campaigning to protect community pubs is having an effect, with closure numbers reducing [from 26 a week to 20 for these particular types of boozers]."

"Local pubs are vital to their communities and the wellbeing of their users, as a recent report from Oxford University showed."

"As well as reducing tax, the government can continue to support these pubs by strengthening national planning regulations and supporting local groups seeking to list pubs as Assets of Community Value."


KEY FACTS ANIMATION
Similarly calling for further cuts in beer tax, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has now produced an animated film that, a different press release says, uses "key facts to make a convincing case for a one-penny cut in beer duty in the Budget".

The one-minute film, embedded below on the booze-tastic Rake & Herald from the BBPA's YouTube channel, "gives consumers and campaigners some of the most startling facts about beer tax rates in the UK and their huge impact on the economy".

Comparing UK duty rates with a number of other countries, the video also highlights "what a tax cut would do to boost jobs and growth in the coming year" while also encouraging viewers to write to their MP on the matter via a special BBPA website that for some reason I can't get to load.

"I want to thank all those who have already joined the campaign – please use this new film to encourage others to do so," says BBPA CEO Brigid Simmonds.

OK, sure thing.

Hence its inclusion in this article, I suppose.

Meanwhile, you, yes YOU, the cherished and beloved readers of the Rake & Herald, can also download a free campaign poster here.

And for more information on all the above, why not check out the Beer Story – Facts on Tap series of infographics jointly developed by CAMRA, the BBPA, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and Pubs of Ulster by giving this a click?

Now, as promised, here's the video in question.

Ten points, by the way, if you can spot any discrepancies between CAMRA's and the BBPA's figures.

Eleven if you can't.




See also UK pub closures escalate, posted 23/1/15, and Beer duty cut again, posted 18/3/15, among others.


Sandi Toxic
was raised by wolves inside a disused clay pit near Lanjeth. You can befriend her on FaceBook here. She is still quite feral.


Footnote

1) The pub closure figures were compiled on behalf of CAMRA by CGA Strategy and cover the period from June 2015 to December 2015. These stats, CAMRA explains, "are net closures, taking new openings during the period into account". So there. Pint, anyone?



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