The Campaign is won!
After a year-long fightback against the beer duty escalator, the Chancellor has announced today the tax will be axed.
This decision is a triumph for all the fantastic CAMRA members who have worked hard to spread the message of the campaign- by gathering support, signing the petition, attending the mass lobby and meeting with their MP.
Beer duty will no longer rise automatically every year 2% above inflation, in turn keeping down the cost of your pint down the pub.
Since the escalator was introduced in 2008, beer tax has increased by 42%, driving up the cost of a pint and driving consumers away from their local pubs. In that time, 5,800 pubs have closed for good.
On the back of last year's Budget, CAMRA launched its support for the e-petition calling an end to the tax and dedicated volunteers threw their wholehearted support behind it. Eight months' later, we reached the golden number of 100,000 signatures.
CAMRA's beer festivals were invaluable to this effort. At the annual Great British Beer Festival, CAMRA gathered 10,000 signatures alone.
Once we reached the 100,000 mark, we lobbied hard to get a debate in the main chamber of Parliament, where MPs unanimously agreed the escalator should be scrapped.
The campaign continued with the Save Your Pint Mass Lobby on 12th Decempber, a fantastic day where 1,200 CAMRA members met with over 180 members of parliament. CAMRA members have continued this campaigning by meeting and writing with their MPs right up to the day of the Budget. Today's decision was made concrete in the following words of the Chancellor's speech:
"Mr Deputy Speaker, there's another duty escalator – the annual two percent above inflation increases in alcohol.
We're looking at plans to stop the biggest discounts of cheap alcohol at retailers.
But responsible drinkers – and our pubs - should not pay the price for the problems caused by others.
The sad fact is that we've lost 10,000 pubs in the UK over the last decade.
Many HM's have raised their concerns with me like my HF for Bristol North West.
My Honourable Friend for Burton and Uttoxeter in particular has been a committed champion of the famous brewing industry that employs many of his constituents.
I intend to maintain the planned rise for all alcohol duties – with the exception of beer.
We will now scrap the beer duty escalator altogether.
And instead of the 3p rise in beer duty tax planned for this year I am cancelling it altogether.
That's the freeze people have been campaigning for.
But I'm going to go one step further and I am going to cut beer duty by 1p.
We're taking a penny off a pint.
The cut will take effect this Sunday night and I expect it to be passed on in full to customers."
A great success for CAMRA's biggest campaign, made possible by the effort and support from our members.