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Petition calls for cut in beer tax

Beer tax petition Photo: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

A petition with more than 100,000 signatures has been handed to Number 10 Downing Street calling on the government to cut taxes on beer, in order to save struggling pubs.

The "Long Live the Local" petition was delivered by the model and pub owner Jodie Kidd and forms part of a campaign backed by Britain's Beer Alliance.

Organisers hope Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will consider the petition when deciding on whether to raise beer duty in this month's Autumn Budget.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Paul Trett runs The Killingworth Arms in Northumberland and says the last few years have been financially difficult.

He is now reliant on other ventures to earn a living and has to be innovative in what he offers to his customers.

These taxes have to be passed onto our customers. Our customers, unfortunately say what they've got to say with their feet and they go walking. We're just not doing half the trade that we used to do, maybe 12 years ago. We have quiz nights, Friday night's, 60s and 70s nights, Sunday nights we do a mini poker. It helps, it helps a lot, but if we didn't do that I think the doors would be closed. I've had 15 pubs, restaurants, hotels and now we're in the situation where it's do we toss a coin and maybe decide whether we're going to be packing this in or not, because we really can't survive much longer on the way things are going with the taxes.

– Paul Trett, Pub Landlord
Paul Trett Credit: ITV News

According to campaigners one in ten (12 per cent) pubs will close in the next five years, if beer duty goes up again.

Three pubs currently close their doors for good every day in the UK due to increasing financial pressures from a range of taxes, according to analysis by the British Beer & Pub Association.

The delivery of the petition comes as polling conducted by YouGov ahead of the Autumn Budget reveals nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of people believe pubs are an important part of local communities.

  • 36 per cent say pubs are important to their social life
  • 68 per cent say pub closures are bad for local communities
  • 55 per cent say pubs important to securing future of the high street
  • 53 per cent say going to pub is less affordable than five years ago
  • 36 per cent say they now visit the pub less often
Beer tax Credit: ITV News

Chancellor Philip Hammond MP will reveal his budget on 29 October.

The last time Beer Duty increased year on year, according to the campaigners, was between 2008 and 2013 when the government put a Beer Duty escalator policy in place.

Over those five years there was a 24 per cent decline in beer sales in pubs, 5,000 pubs closed and 58,000 people lost their jobs.

I am at Downing Street today to deliver the Long Live the Local petition because, along with 105,000 other people, I believe the Chancellor must act now to protect our local pubs. An increase in beer duty on 29 October will continue to cripple our pubs with communities bearing the cost.

– Jodie Kidd