7. What assessment he has made of the effect on pubs of the continuation of the beer duty escalator. (120140)
The Government recognise the important contribution that pubs throughout the country make to their local communities and the wider community. Given the large number of factors contributing to the decline in pub numbers, including shifting social trends, the relationship between beer duty and the pub industry cannot easily be determined.
I welcome the new Minister to his post and thank him for that answer. In my constituency, the beer and pubs sector supports around 1,300 jobs. At a time when household incomes are static and pubs have seen a reduction in trade as a result of the smoking ban and other nanny state impositions by the Labour Government, does he agree that the Treasury needs to provide further support to the industry by reversing the trend of rises in beer duty, which has grown by more than 40% since 2008?
As the incoming Economic Secretary, I note that I have been given responsibility for some of the more popular duties and taxes.
There will be no further changes to alcohol duties beyond those designed and pre-announced by the previous Government, but I hope that the minimum unit pricing system that the Government have announced will make a difference to pubs, along with other measures that we have announced to help small businesses such as reducing the corporation tax rate, the extension of the small business rate relief holiday and the reduction of the small profits tax rate.[Official Report, 12 September 2012, Vol. 550, c. 2MC.]