Budget 2013: Campaigners hail 'triumph' as Osborne cuts beer duty by 1p

The Chancellor declared, 'We're taking a penny off the pint', in a move which will be effective from Sunday night.

Pubs bosses were left smiling after the Budget thanks to George Osborne cutting 1p in duty on a pint of beer.

Announcing the scrapping of a planned 3p rise in beer duty tax, the Chancellor abolished the beer duty escalator.

Mr Osborne declared, 'We're taking a penny off the pint', in a move which would be effective from Sunday night.

Planned rises for all other alcohol duties will be maintained, however.

The beer industry and campaign groups have been warning the Government that the escalator, which has added 2% to the price of a pint since it was introduced by Labour in 2008, was forcing pubs out of business.

The Chancellor proclaimed in his Budget he was 'taking a penny off the pint' (PA)

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) gathered more than 100,000 names on a petition which led to a parliamentary debate last year.

Camra pointed out that beer duty has risen 42% since 2008, adding that 18 pubs a week are closing.
George Osborne told MPs that 10,000 pubs have closed in the past decade.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), hailed the announcement as a 'triumph'.

He said: "This is a momentous day for Britain's beer drinkers, who will tonight be raising a glass to the Chancellor for axing this damaging tax escalator and helping keep pub-going affordable for hard-pressed consumers.

"This decision will keep the lid on the cost of a pint down the pub.

Since the duty escalator was introduced in 2008, 5800 pubs have been forced to call last orders for good.

What could have been the final nail in the coffin for our pubs has been decisively avoided by the Chancellor in a move that will spark celebration in pubs across the UK.

"Scrapping the beer duty escalator, combined with a 1p cut, is a massive vote of confidence in British pubs and will lead to an increase in pub going and more money in the Chancellor’s coffers."

Announcing the 1p cut during his Budget speech, Chancellor Osborne said: "We will now scrap the beer duty escalator altogether.

"And instead of the 3p rise in beer duty tax planned for this year I am cancelling it altogether.

"That’s the freeze people have been campaigning for.

"But I’m going to go one step further and I am going to cut beer duty by 1p.

"We’re taking a penny off a pint.

"The cut will take effect this Sunday night and I expect it to be passed on in full to customers."

Although the move was largely well received, some were frustrated that the duty cut only applied to beer, and not wine, spirits, or cider.