What a disgusting decision by Alastair Darling, to raise beer duty by a punitive 4p a pint. This will do nothing to reduce problem drinking, and indeed will serve to shift drinking away from the controlled environment of the pub. It will also further encourage both legal cross-border shopping and smuggling. It will simply make Britain’s perceived “alcohol problem” worse.
It was good to see CAMRA making a quick and strong response, though. Maybe at last the gloves have come off. CAMRA has a strong message to put across, that the traditional community pub with a mixed clientele is the best defence against problem drinking, and it needs to push this for all it is worth, and to vigorously oppose all policy initiatives that will further undermine pubs.