Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Weekly pub closures up to 18: Camra

Pub closures have increased from 12 a week last year to 18, Camra has said

The number of pubs closing every week has increased to 18 as the industry struggles against high taxes and cheaper supermarket prices, new research has revealed.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said pub closures had increased from 12 a week in the past year, with 450 shut across the UK since March alone.

The report was published ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on the beer duty escalator, introduced four years ago, under which beer duty is automatically increased by 2% above inflation.

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition against the tax escalator, which has triggered a debate among MPs.

Camra said pubs were now closing at an increased rate, with beer sales "plummeting".

Chief executive Mike Benner said: "Surpassing the 100,000 signatures required to trigger a debate was a major consumer-led campaigning success, but the real hard work begins now.

"For too long, Britain's beer drinkers have been forced to endure inflation-busting rates of tax on their pint, while the Treasury's own projections show that these hikes will fail to bring in any additional revenue over the next three years.

"As today's pub closure figures show, the future of Britain's valued community pubs remains in jeopardy. With pubs finding it ever harder to maintain consistent footfall at a time when prices are ever increasing, it is only hoped that Parliament will today take the first steps by voting to review punitive taxation policies on Britain's national drink."

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