what do you think guys?
Sent: 25 October 2012 18:04
To: BRIDGEN, Andrew
Subject: Please attend the beer tax debate to support your local pub industry
Dear Mr Bridgen
As your constituent I am writing to ask you to please attend the Parliamentary debate calling on Government to review their damaging policy of the beer duty escalator.
The debate will be on Thursday 1st November and has been called by the Backbench Business Committee in response to the "Stop the Beer Duty Escalator" e-petition (www.camra.org.uk/saveyourpint
) which currently stands at over 104,000 signatures.
The escalator increases beer duty by 2% above inflation automatically every year and is making pub-going unaffordable. As a result, the pub industry is struggling and pubs are closing at an alarming rate of 12 every week in the UK.
The motion for debate urges the Government to support Britain's beer and pub sector by conducting a thorough review of the economic and social impact of the beer duty escalator, to report back before the 2013 budget.
Please attend the debate, speak in support of our local pubs and our brewing industry, and vote in favour of the motion.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to watching your contribution in the debate.
His reply from 5th November
Thank you for contacting me about beer duty.
The Government inherited the largest deficit in the G20 and we spend over £120 million every day on debt interest payments alone. This is clearly unsustainable and tough decisions are unavoidable. The revenues from alcohol excise duty make an important contribution to reducing the deficit. The previous government legislated to increase beer duty above inflation before they left power. Indeed, all rises in beer duty taking place now were put in place by Labour. However, where the Government can take action, it has. Ministers have reversed Labour?s damaging 10 per cent above inflation increase on cider tax and continue to keep all taxes and duties under review.
I recognise the vital role pubs play in community life and job creation. Ministers have already taken a number of steps to support British pubs. A community right to buy has been introduced, which will enable residents to save struggling pubs by taking them over rather than seeing them lie empty and derelict. We are also cutting red tape to make it is easier for pub owners to attract new business by putting on live music events.
The Government has announced that it is going to introduce a new minimum unit price so for the first time it will be illegal for shops to sell alcohol for less than this set price per unit.
Groups such as the Campaign for Real Ale and the British Beer and Pub Association have welcomed the work that the Government has done to date, such as the review of alcohol taxation in November 2010. CAMRA?s figures also show that the net rate of pub closures has slowed dramatically over the past two years. The Treasury keeps all taxes under constant review and I know Ministers are aware of the concerns you raise.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
My reply to this! (sent tonight)
Dear Mr Bridgen
thank you for your reply to my email although I fear what has been sent is a pre-written automated response
I was concerned to see that you didn't speak at (and possibly didn't attend) the Beer Tax debate despite over 100,000 of the British public requesting that this matter be raised in the house of commons, I am also concerned as there are over 100 pubs in your constituency and despite there being over 20 independent breweries (not including the larger breweries such as Everards) The decline of the brewing industry and its associated supply outlets (i.e Pubs) should be of huge concern to yourself as they are a large contributor to the area in ways such providing employment and of course the collection of beer duty and other associated taxes. They are also responsible for the raising of significant amounts for charities and provide social cohesion and a meeting place in communities.
I am also surprised given the fact you signed EDM 1475 in March 2011
I would like to remind you that the Coalition government has now been in power for over 2 years and would suggest that maybe it is time for yourself and your associates to stop blaming all the country's issues on on the previous government, a government that under which I, as a single, full time working mother, had considerably more income to use to raise my son with minimum government assistance.
With regards to your comments about the "assistance" the present government is giving our pubs and brewing industry I would like to make you aware of the following :-
1) If duty were reduced on what is a national industry less pubs would fail and therefore there would be no need for a community "right to buy" (duty collected would also be incrementally higher as more people would be able to enjoy a social occasion
2) There has always been the ability for communities to purchase their local pub if it became available to purchase for whatever reason
3) Pubs have always been able to host live music events in fact some of my fondest memories as a young adult were of evenings sat in my local, drinking in a safe and controlled environment that I respected watching up and coming bands play however now I find, as someone in my 40's who works full time, I cannot afford to do this as the price of even a pint of beer or a glass of wine is so prohibitive and as a responsible adult I have to priotitise my spend and make sure the ever rising costs of utilities and filling my car up to travel to work and back are met among other outgoings.
4) The introduction of minimum pricing may well be contrary to EU law and so far 5 member countries have expressed concern and raised questions about this as they may well infringe on competition treaties we have signed with other European member states
5) The Cider Tax was in fact scrapped by the previous Government in 2010 and I find it interesting that you are not only happy to blame the previous government for the present Government's inability to sort out the country's issues but also take credit for decisions they took which you appear to agree with.
Quite frankly, I am saddened by your lack of knowledge around what is such an important industry in our area, I am also saddened that you addressed my concerns with such a generic and impersonal response.
This matter is of great concern to me for several reasons, one of which is that I work in the industry and if the pubs and breweries in this country continue to be unsupported in meaningful ways then my job, and those of my work colleagues will be at risk, indeed we have already had to reduce headcount.
The last time I had cause to contact my MP, the MP was Mr David Taylor and to my surprise, within less than an hour (on a Christmas eve) I had not only received a reply from him but he also continued to answer my questions for an hour that evening via email. I also used to see him regularly in local pubs talking to his constituents and getting a feel for the issues of those who had taken the time to vote for him. People tend to be more open and forthcoming in a social environment.
wonder if I will get a reply he has actually written himself? LOL!