Cheers to MP, say landlords

This Is Wiltshire: MP Justin Tomlinson, centre, being presented with an award for his work in abolishing the beer duty escalator from landlord Steve Snook, left, and James Arkell MP Justin Tomlinson, centre, being presented with an award for his work in abolishing the beer duty escalator from landlord Steve Snook, left, and James Arkell

THE MP for Swindon North was presented with an award at the weekend for work done to get rid of the beer duty escalator.

Justin Tomlinson, who is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, was presented with the Parliamentary Beer Champion 2014 award at the Jolly Tar in Hannington on Friday.

He was nominated jointly by the British Beer & Pub Association, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers.

The Beer Duty Escalator was introduced in 2008 and saw beer prices rise by 2 per cent above inflation every year.

However, it was scrapped in the 2013 Budget after prices rose more than 40 per cent in five years.

Speaking at the presentation, Justin said: “I am very proud to have received this award.

“I have worked hard to support this important industry, with the cut crucial to the long-term sustainability of our local pubs. “In North Swindon we have 52 pubs, providing 1,412 jobs and adding £30.2m to the local economy. “The brewing and pub sector is a dynamic part of the local economy at the centre of the hospitality industry, our cultural heritage and the social life of every community.”

He was presented with the award by James Arkell, of Arkell’s brewery, who said: “It’s fantastic that Justin and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group were able to support the scrapping of the beer escalator, which is positive for beer sales.”

The change follows a high profile campaign by CAMRA, which was supported up the Adver, to abolish the escalator.

The head of the real ale group thanked Justin and said the move had come as a relief for landlords, not only in Swindon but across the country.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive of CAMRA, said: “This reward recognises Justin Tomlinson’s invaluable support in the campaign to scrap Labour’s beer duty escalator. “Justin really helped in drawing attention to the harm caused by the tax increases totalling 42 per cent over just 4 years.”

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