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Celebrity protest against duty hike

Published:  17 April, 2009

The pub sector is ramping up its protest against duty with a celebrity publicity event which will take place around Westminster on Monday.

Adele Silva star of Emmerdale, who was bought up in a pub, will be pulling pints in the Red Lion, Parliament Street for MPs and other special guests in support of the British Beer and pub industry - which is currently under severe pressure from low beer sales, closures, job losses and duty increases.

A delegation of MPs and members of the industry will then hand over a giant postcard petition to No 10 Downing Street.

The campaign is being lodged at a crucial time when sales of beer are at their lowest levels in almost 40 years and a record 39 pubs are closing weekly.

It is reported that more than 44,000 jobs were lost from the industry between 2000 and 2005 and a further 75,000 jobs are under threat.

The situation is also being made worse by the impact of tax increases.

Last year the Government increased beer tax by 18% and it plans to increase it again over and above the rate of inflation Wednesday's Budget.

With tax already taking up a third of the price of a pint of beer, further hikes are predicted to accelerate the decline of the pub.

In surveys by independent pollsters, ComRes 70% of the British people and 59% of all MPs believed the Government was not justified in raising beer tax in this year's budget.

The campaign is being promoted by both industry and consumers - the British Beer and Pub Association represents the pub and brewing industry and CAMRA,  the Campaign for Real Ale champions of consumer rights.