A quick run-though some of the current issues, following on from
One of the many quirks (to put it mildly) of the EU policy on agriculture
is that wine production counts as agriculture and receives subsidies but
beer production is an industry and gets nothing. Southern European bias?
The idea of proper registration of the people formerly known as bouncers
seems to be gaining wide acceptance, backed by a proposed national qualification
scheme. However it should be remembered that introducing door staff is often
a sign of defeat by ineffective management and a signal that "this is a place
which needs bouncers" which tends to be self-fulfilling.
Recent promotions such as "drink a gallon" (of fizzy national blands)
The complementary initiative of barring known trouble-makers via exclusion orders is also becoming more widely used.
Shepherd Neame and the
Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) continue their battles against the policies which
are devastating the pubs industry.
(Sources: Teletext 12/2/99,
Licensee & Morning Advertiser 18/2/99 & BLRA)
- High duty is forcing trade from pubs & off-licences to France and
unfairly limiting the market for small breweries' beers.
- The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association (BLRA), the main trade body,
estimates that 1.5 million pints were smuggled in every day in 1998.
- Customs & Excise estimate that 75% of cross-channel beer is for illegal resale.
- The number of vans leaving for Calais went up 4% to 91,000.
- The amount the French Government received in extra tax is about the same
as our Government allocated to Customs & Excise to fight smuggling.
- Since 1993 50 Shepherd Neame pubs have had to close due to loss of trade.
- Prosecutions for smuggling are running at 1 per day whereas when the single market started in 1993 there were 3 per day.
- Letter to The Times:
Case for Fairer Beer Tax.
- Sweden & Denmark had even higher duty rates, neighbours with low rates and therefore a big cross-border traffic.
They have reduced their rates towards the EU average and found that
the increase in domestic trade has increased total tax revenue.
[Follow-up: ALE 296]
Licensing hours are almost certainly being permanently deregulated to permit opening
from 11am on the 31st through to 11pm on the 1st.
Residents, police or councils will be able to lodge an objection for a particular pub which, if
upheld, would lead to a three-year ban from having the extension.
This is still on hold pending the outcome of more "consultation" and nothing
definite seems likely to happen this year. However the head of the task force
(Lord Haskins) has stated he favours switching licensing from open, fact-based
hearings before magistrates to the vagaries of politicians' committee meetings.
This has appalled the industry.
The Parliamentary Beer Club is recommending an hour's winding down time (no alcohol sales), as operates in Holland.
The Licensing & Young Persons Bill by Christine McCafferty MP is
a worthy attempt to close some loopholes and to make it
easier to police sales to under-age drinkers. It has all-party
and trade support but Eric "Froth" Forth struck
again and used procedure to block progress.
He was reported as being the MP who stopped us all having full pints
by blocking that bill.
(Source: Licensee & Morning Advertiser 19/4/99)
[Follow-up: ALE 296]
Again, it's all gone quiet but there seems to be no will to impose no-smoking
policies but rather to push the industry's voluntary code.
Proctor & Gamble have produced a cleaning chemical which wraps around smoke
particles and then evaporates. It can also handle food and alcohol smells.
It could be very useful for getting smells off furnishings etc.
(Source: The Publican 1/3/99)
[Febreze spray was being advertised on TV as of December 1999.]
[Follow-up: ALE 296.]
ALE 26th Cambridge Beer Festival No. 295
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Cambridge & District CAMRA