Went to a press conference yesterday as the Axe the Beer Tax campaign enters its final week. I doubt whether the eerie Alastair Darling will listen, but the case against raising the tax now seems irrefutable:
- Rate of pub closures is up to 39 a week – that’ll increase further if the tax goers through
- 2000 pubs have gone to the wall since last year’s budget
- Last year’s 18% tax rise has cost the beer and pub industry an additional £540 million – and yet the total tax revenue from beer has gone down thanks to the tax slaughtering demand for beer.
- 70% of all MPs oppose further tax rises
- 202 MPs have now signed the EDM calling for the rise to be scrapped – that’s only the fourth EDM EVER to get more than 200 MPs signed up, and the first time an EDM about fiscal policy has received such strong support.
- 45% of Labour’s own back benchers oppose the rise. It’s rare for such a high level of back bench revolt.