Of course it is. We have heard colleagues talk about it today.
If the aim is to raise money for the Exchequer, I agree with that aim, as taxes are important and pay for the vital things our society needs. However, the brewing and pub industry is a massive employer, with almost 900,000 jobs across the UK. The loss of those jobs would have a major impact on our economy and offset much of the income from the high taxes. We also find that the taxes are not applied evenly, with wine and spirits’ duty rates per litre of pure alcohol on an almost constant decline since 1978, yet beer has largely stayed constant and has gone up in some cases.
I therefore call on the Government to look at the way in which we support our local pubs. One way to do it is by improving the current structure of the small brewers relief. I also call on the Government to implement a modest cut in beer duty so that we can help our local pubs.
As the hon. Mike Wood has said, 250,000 people have signed up to the Long Live the Local campaign, showing that the British people want to protect our pubs. Let us take the steps necessary to ensure that our great British institutions do not have to call for last orders permanently. I urge the Government to act.