East Devon MP Hugo Swire is backing calls for a cut in beer duty to save pubs.
He is supporting a campaign by the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group which aims to rejuvenate the UK’s pub and hospitality sector.
The duty was frozen for two consecutive years, but MPs say it is now time for a reduction.
Mr Swire said: “The pub trade is at the very heart of Britain’s heritage, contributing £23 billion to the UK economy and supporting 900,000 jobs. It is my belief that further increases to beer duty will present additional challenges for the industry and cause more pubs to close.”
He supports a letter written to the Chancellor by Nigel Evans MP, calling for action in the forthcoming Budget.
The letter points out that the UK pays 40 per cent of all beer duty in the EU – while only consuming 12 per cent of the beer.
In the five-year period to 2013 alone, 5,000 pubs closed and 58,000 jobs in the sector were lost.
Mr Evans’ letter calls on the Chancellor to remove the RPI inflationary increases for the duty. It also calls for incentives to support lower-strength alcoholic drinks.