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Wednesday 11 February 2015

Taxpayers Alliance Beer Duty Campaign A Sham

The articles from the time have been pulled from their website - bit of a giveaway there - but enough has remained to show that the campaign by the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) on beer duty was one of their most blatantly fraudulent ever. Right from the off, when City AM toldToday the TaxPayers' Alliance calls on chancellor George Osborne to reduce the UK's punishing beer duty with their new campaign”, the reasoning was bogus.
More guff from Tufton Street

This is what the TPA claimed was underpinning their campaign: “High taxes make your drinks more expensive, with tax often constituting a third of the price of a pint. In the last 4 years, 5,800 pubs have closed and 60,000 jobs have been lost” [my emphasis]. So one can assume that the TPA would be against anything that endangers pubs. But they are not, as I found out during the saga of The Caledonia in Liverpool.

Here, PubCo Admiral Taverns sold the well-patronised street corner local from under the tenant, with the intention that it be closed and converted into apartments. Observers of the PubCos and their machinations will not be surprised. The TPA did and said nothing, and nor have they said anything whenever their pals in the PubCos flog off pubs which are then demolished or otherwise redeveloped.

That the TPA is not on the side of pub-goers has now been underscored yet further, after Carlsberg, Heineken and Molson Coors decreed that wholesale beer prices - the price they charge pubs - will increase by 5p a pint (that’s five times more than the duty cut that the TPA were getting so excited about), despite their input costs apparently not being under any inflationary pressure. And, as the man said, there’s more.

The increase in price to the punter on the other side of the bar could be anything up to a whopping 12p a pint: the TPA has been silent. Enterprise Inns was quick to jump on the bandwagon: “The increase reflects the widely-reported increases in wholesale prices of between 2.9% and 3.6% for top-selling brands from leading suppliers, who cite rising manufacturing costs as the reason for their higher prices” said a spokesman.

Small wonder that sales of take-home beer have for the first time moved ahead of sales of cask and keg beer in pubs. But the TPA is blind to the elephant in the room, demanding that observerslook over there” at “tight planning restrictions which drive up residential rents and house prices, causing the housing crisis are also contributing to the slow but steady disappearance of our pubs”.

The TPA does not care about the continuing litany of closed pubs: their pals in the PubCos, and the big brewers that supply them, escape criticism. Nothing shows more clearly that the TPA is not a vehicle for ordinary taxpayers, but an Astroturf lobby group wanting to weaken anything marked “Government” in pursuit of a “small state” ideology. Anyone who gets taken in by their beer duty campaign has been had for a mug.

The TPA doesn’t care about beer drinkers. After all, they don’t bankroll it.

1 comment:

rob said...

"The TPA doesn’t care about beer drinkers. After all, they don’t bankroll it."

Bankroll? Is that an HSBC thing?