Rory steps up support for rural pubs, calls to scrap beer duty escalator
Rory Stewart is renewing efforts to support rural pubs in Penrith and the Border by supporting the British Beer and Pub Association’s calls to the Chancellor George Osborne to scrap the beer duty escalator as a sign of support for country publicans. The move follows research by Oxford Economics on the brewing and pub sector, which shows that 1,363 jobs in Penrith and the Border are supported by the industry, including 454 for 16-24 year olds, adding a value of £22.7m to the local economy.
Rory is known for his unstinting support of rural pubs in Penrith and the Border, and is a share-holder of the community-owned Butcher’s Arms in Crosby Ravensworth, where he also hopes to help local Councillor Joan Raine pilot a lunch-club for community members later this month on March 15th.
Rory said: “This is an industry that is of huge importance to our constituency, its communities, and indeed to the national economy. With 5 breweries and 174 pubs, this is a significant economic and social driver that we need to do more to support. I will be lobbying the Chancellor to reconsider the suggested 5% duty rise, which will further squeeze the sector, at a time when we are losing our village pubs at a worrying rate. As we can see with the Butcher’s Arms, pubs are not just businesses, but social hubs that generate enormous social benefit. We are looking at ways, for example, in which local pubs can host lunch clubs for the elderly. Brewing and pubs need our backing more than ever.”
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Our industry is asking for a Budget that recognises the beer and pub industry’s ability to twin the two objectives of jobs-based growth, and the creation of a responsible drinking culture by incentivising people to choose lower-strength pub-based drinks. The current duty system does not do this.”
For more information please contact www.beerandpub.com