Chancellor asked to ‘save our pubs’

EASINGTON MP Grahame Morris has sent out a plea for the nation’s pubs to be saved.

Speaking ahead of today’s budget, Mr Morris called on Chancellor George Osborne and the Government to cancel the two per cent above inflation tax rise on beer.

He says if it went ahead, this would result in a five to 10 pence hike on the price of a pint.

Mr Morris has recently been elected as a vice-chairman on the prominent All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group in Westminister.

He has vowed to push for changes that he hopes would reverse the closures of community pubs across Britain, as on average 16 pubs close each week.

The group has previously looked at a number of the challenges facing public houses such as increased beer duty, competition from supermarkets and large pub companies selling beer to their tenants at above-market prices.

Mr Morris said: “In the North East pubs are closing at an alarming rate of one every fortnight.

“Rural pubs, those at the heart of our communities, are being hardest hit closing at a rate of six a week.”

He added: “High beer taxes are forcing people out of pubs into drinking at home.

“This is not good for the community as we see more alcohol on our streets.

“Supermarkets continue to undermine beer sales in community pubs offering alcohol for as little as 50p a pint.

“This cannot continue if we are to save our Great British pub.

“I ask the Chancellor not to price pubs out of the market – give beer a break and cancel the beer duty rise.”