The fight is on to get clear regulations on full pint measures.
Better Regulation Task Force
is in a position to solve the problem
but so far has only listened to vested interests in the business
and has deliberately ignored consumer option, thereby coming to
the view that no change is needed.
CAMRA and many MPs have protested (107 signed an Early Day Motion).
The current consultation paper from the DTI's Consumer Affairs group
contains lots of fascinating details,
including a review of the regulations and of case law:
Measures of Beer and Cider Consultation Document.
The Budget speech gave no relief for drinkers or small brewers -
duty on beer remained at its extortionate level (harming community pubs)
and there was no introduction of a sliding scale of duty to help
small brewers compete with the deeply-discounting big ones.
However, in parallel Customs & Excise announced the Government is moving in the right direction:
the Alcohol and Tobacco Duties press release
explained it's minded to introduce reduced duty, after mulling it over for the next year.
As the Budget was supposed to help children, a wag commented the Chancellor should have cut duty on
cigs and alcopops!
Meanwhile the Shadow Chancellor, Michael Portillo, has proposed a duty cut
for beers under 2.5% - a rare breed!
Locally only Potton No. 1 (2.2%) fits.
Brakspear has just launched a 2.5% beer (called 2.5) and Harvey's have Family Ale (2.2%).
French Duty - 1775!
From Samuel Johnson's journal of his visit to France in 1775:
"We then went to Sans-terre, a brewer. He brews with about as much
malt as Mr Thrale [successful London brewer, frequent host of
Johnson, and his companion on the trip], and sells his beer at the same
price, though he pays no duty for malt, and little more than half as
much for beer. Beer is sold retail at 6d. a bottle."
ALE Spring 2001 No. 301
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