"We need a change of approach from the government. Brewing is a major industry, beer our national drink and pubs a treasured part of our national culture." What the BBPA fail to realise is that the government intend to destroy this part of British culture. Pubs are closing at the rate of 27 a week, a pint of beer is taxed at around 80p and the competition from super markets with their more flexible selling techniques means that a part of Britishness is being killed. I wonder if Gordon has noticed, indeed even cares?
The pub trade is facing it’s toughest test in years but it’s being stifled in how to combat it by overbearing government interference. The smoking ban is a prime example, rather than allowing pubs to decide it was deemed necessary to instigate a blanket ban. This has driven many people into the arms of the cheap booze available from supermarkets and the comfortable armchairs of home, away from prying state power (for the time being) where they can smoke and drink in peace. On top of this is the ever increasing tax (2% above the rate of inflation for the next 4 years), on all alcohol, which is resulting in excluding many from their local pubs as they can no longer afford a tipple.
But as the BBPA Chief Executive Rob Hayward points out:
"This is hitting Britain's brewers and pubs hard. It's also creating a large hole in the Chancellor's pocket with the Treasury's tax take also down (£88 million). This must call into question the government's planned beer tax escalator. Where's the logic in taxing more when you're taking less?"
There’s no logic in it, which is why they are continuing with it. Another side affect (unintentional or otherwise) is the destruction of the community. Pubs are no longer focal points for the locals (more so in urban areas) but meeting places for all those only interested in inebriation. A sorry state of affairs that is difficult to repair unless the government removes its claws from the pub landlords back.