The Government have inherited plans to increase alcohol duties by 2% above inflation until 2014-15. The extra 2% is forecast to increase beer duty receipts by £35 million next year and £70 million the following year.
My hon. Friend is right to raise this issue, and he has contributed to many debates on it in this House. Making the change would mean lost revenue, and we would have to find another way to cover that loss. He may find it useful if I point out some Government measures that have helped pubs, such as the changes in the annual investment allowance, the cut in the small profits rate of corporation tax and the extension of small rate relief holiday.
The hon. Lady will know that the beer duty escalator was introduced by her Government. This Government have inherited those plans and are carrying them out. If she does not like this tax, perhaps she could make a stronger case if she tells us how she would cover the lost revenue.