MP fears budget could cause more pub closures

April 16, 2009 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Campaining Hard to Save Our PubsMore pubs could close if Alistair Darling announces an above-inflation beer tax increase in his budget next week, fears Rochdale MP Paul Rowen.

Mr Rowen claims that six pubs close across the country every day, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs, and believes that another rise in tax could be the final straw for many local hostelries.

Mr Rowen said: "What is clear is that the Government are using anti-social behaviour caused by drink as an excuse to raise revenue. They are simply not tackling the real issue of the amount of cheap, supermarket booze on offer.

"In 2008, there was an 18% increase in beer duty alone and it has hit the industry hard. The latest rises are both unfair and unjustified and will result in huge job losses across the industry. I hope that this Government will stop using pubs as a cash cow and reevaluate this decision that will do such harm."

One Rochdale Landlord, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "This Labour Government are a disgrace and are punishing responsible consumers for the sins of an irresponsible few. The smoking ban forced us to adapt and we did in the name of common sense. These heavy tax rises will be counter-productive for the Government as they will see a sharp fall in sales, leading to less tax for them and more pub closures."