Friday 2 November 2012

Beer Duty Escalator 'Debate'

After all the retweets, all the campaigning for signatures and some borderline bullying of my colleagues until they signed the petition, I spent 2 hours and 27 minutes watching the debate for reviewing the much hated beer duty escalator.

Andrew Griffiths speaks out against the Beer Duty Escalator
It was good to see MPs from all sides of the house coming together to speak up against it and in particular Andrew Griffiths and Greg Mulholland did a superb job of leading the argument.

The most damning fact about the beer duty escalator that I heard yesterday was the fact that Britain pays 40% of the EU's beer tax bill and only 13% of beer in the EU is drunk in the UK! There's something very wrong with that. Other interesting tidbits you might have picked up was that if the escalator was to be scrapped an estimated 5,000(not 500 that I typoed on twatter) would be saved in the first year alone and an estimated 16,000 after 3 years!

It was telling that my local MP Chuka Umunna was not in attendance having responded to me by email saying that he would not argue against the beer duty escalator. He's lost my vote with that email.

Umunna was not the only one who missed the debate though and I was not impressed by the turn out for this clearly divisive issue. So what were the majority of the house of commons doing yesterday morning instead of attending the debate, answers on a postcard?

It begs the question, is there really significant enough opposition to this tax in parliament, I mean, we all know that politicians would sell their own mothers to decrease the national debt so how much impact did this debate have? As much as I would like to say lots, I suspect, not a lot.

What also struck me was the government apparently not taking the debate too seriously at all by sending only Sajid Javid to 'make a statement' saying that the beer duty escalator would remain in place but under review. Hardly the answer any of us were after but given my cynicism for humanity and government, not exactly surprising.

That doesn't mean I stop helping campaign on this subject it just means that I will be overjoyed and frankly stunned if the escalator is scrapped any time before 2015.

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