Beer tax cut?

British MP proposes lower duty on beer from local breweries, micros

Mar 7, 2002 - A British legislator would cut the price of pints of beer produced by local breweries by lowering the tax on them.


Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker said the a proposed measure would help smaller breweries compete against the drinks giants such as Carlsberg-Tetley and Bass. His move is being supported by MPs from all major parties, who would cut duty on ales produced by traditional local breweries and remove it altogether from the UK's 300 microbreweries.

"Once, if you went to any town in the country, you would find a different brew, and we'd like to bring that back," Baker said. "You don't want to get the same pint in Kettering as you do in Kilmarnock."

Brewer Alan Edgar, who produces beers such as Downland Bitter and super-strength Saxon Berserker at the Golden Galleon pub near Seaford, welcomed the move. "The current tax is smothering us," he said. "The breweries on the south coast are dead on their feet."

Edgar, who has collected 4,000 signatures in support of the Parliamentary motion on the issue, says it makes no sense that duty in Britain is 30p but only 4p in France.

The progressive beer duty regime proposed by Baker would have larger brewers paying duty on a sliding scale, depending on their size. "The objective is to get a wider variety of beers in the country and avoid the concentration of production in very few hands," he said.

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