Crippling Duty Ignored by Labour Government
Just when we thought we were going to see a bit of common sense applied to the
problem of massive illegal imports of beer, we get instead an ostrich reaction
from Chancellor Brown. He has chosen to ignore the threats to pubs, breweries,
jobs, the disrupted harmony of life experienced by Channel port dwellers, the
long-term loss to the Treasury etc. Not only has he professed himself oblivious
to this dire situation, he has set out to make it worse by increasing duty in January.
Time to Stand and Be Counted, or Suffer
Shepherd Neame Brewery, one of the hardest hit, is taking the Government to
court. The European Court of Justice may well decide that the Government is
in breach of the Treaty of Rome by not harmonising duty rates with its
European partners. The Government is unquestionably guilty - members must
take no steps to distort trade - but it is a shame that this action wasn't taken
before. This Government has walked right into it. Has it the charisma to react?
In early November the brewery was granted leave for a judicial review of
the 1% duty rise due on 1st Jan. 1998, on the grounds that the Treaty
of Rome requires the Government to harmonise duty.
Small Brewers looking for a Sliding Scale of Duty
ALE November/December 1997 No. 289
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