Pubs are being hit too hard, beer group says
PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 March 2011
Pubs are being hit too hard by the government’s beer tax plans while getting little recognition for the jobs they create, a beer group has said.
The British Beer & Pub Association is warning against a tax increase in next week’s Budget, saying the industry plays a “vital role” in producing jobs.
More than 3,000 people in Tower Hamlets are employed by pubs, figures released yesterday by the group show.
There are 196 pubs in the borough which contribute almost £120 million per year to the economy.
One East End brewer, who resurrected iconic brewery Truman’s last year, said pubs have been unfairly caught up in the bad press around binge drinking.
Michael George Hemus, who runs the brand with James Morgan, said: “We have a really rich history of ale drinking in this country that is not part of this hardened big drinking culture the government is trying to tackle.
“Supermarkets contribute massively to the perception that there’s a big drinking problem yet pubs are being unfairly targeted.”
Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “A lot of pubs have closed in the last 20 years in the East End.
“It’s not pubs - the big problem is supermarkets and off-licences selling cheap booze.
“Publicans are quite responsible from my experiences. Their whole livelihood depends on them keeping their pub in good order.”
Truman’s, which was established in 1666, was once the world’s largest brewery but ended up being shut down in 1989 after a detrimental merger.
Mr Hemus, 30, said it is now expanding once again and the interest in real ale is stronger than ever.
He added: “Ale teds to be weaker and is much tastier than lager. It’s been in this country for hundreds of years and it’s not going away.
“A distinction should be made between different types of drinkers.”