Brew News

Landlord’s Take: ‘We’re no longer being treated as cash cows’

With George Osborne scrapping the controversial beer duty escalator last week, an outspoken pub owner said landlords are no longer being “milked” of their money on a daily basis.

Michael Duffy, owner of Hertfordshire pub ‘The Three Crowns’ was elated with the Chancellor’s decision.

He said: “This is good news as it means we are no longer being treated as cash cows to be milked on an annual basis under the guise of ‘We’re doing this to keep the Daily Mail happy as their readers are convinced that anybody who enjoys the occasional pint is a binge drinker’.”

The escalator, introduced by Labour Chancellor, Alistair Darling, set out to increase beer duty annually by two percentage points above inflation until 2015, slowly suffocating the industry. Mr Duffy feels some of the burden has been lifted:

“The 1p reduction plus the axing of the beer duty will effectively save 10p on a pint as remember any increase we make at the till has to have a further 20% added on for the billions of VAT our industry collects for the country each year.”

The landlord, who’s owned the pub for nearly a decade, hailed the life-line given to the ailing, yet “vital”, industry

“Pubs are the hub of the community,” he said.

“Just watch any daytime property show and they will highlight the proximity of local pubs, our pubs are known and loved the world over and rank as a must visit for tourists who come to enrich our economy.”

Mr Duffy has been an active campaigner for the beer tax axe in his local community in Bushey, Hertfordshire. He said before last week’s Budget that “local pubs just can’t handle any more tax increases”.

“The Chancellor already takes more than £1 of tax in every pub pint customers buy. As a result, pubs are under enormous pressure and 16 are closing every single week.”

On top of the trouble with beer duty, he also looked to budget supermarket alcohol and the smoking ban as problems for pubs.

He said: “Not only are pubs battling through the economic downturn, but the smoking ban has had an adverse affect on business and we are having to compete with rock-bottom supermarket alcohol prices.”

Osborne’s change may seem small but the effect on pubs in the long-term will be huge. Mr Duffy is just one landlord delighted with the long-awaited beer tax axe, do you agree? Keep the debate going below!

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