Dawn Primarolo MP's response to constituents regarding alcohol duty:
"Thank you for your email in support of cutting all alcohol duties by 2% in the March 2015 Budget.
I appreciate your concern regarding the current squeeze on household incomes and the very serious challenges that are facing the pub and beer industry. I know that pubs play an important role in communities across the country and it is concerning that an estimated 31 pubs close every week in the UK.
In last year’s Budget the Chancellor announced that the alcohol duty escalator will be scrapped for all duties, with prices to rise in line with inflation in future years. The Chancellor also announced that duty on spirits would be frozen for 2014/15 and that beer duty will be cut by 1p per pint. However, it should not be forgotten that the Government's decision to increase VAT to 20% has added more to the price of a pint than the escalator did since 2011.
I have written to the Chancellor to forward your concerns ahead of this year’s Budget. It is important that the Government carefully considers the appropriate level of all duties and taxation, especially at this time of the year.
My view is that the Government needs to do much more to support local pubs and households at this difficult time, and that a more comprehensive attitude is required.
Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views. I can assure you that I will work with my Labour colleagues in Parliament to continue to urge the Government to do more to support pubs and the drinks industry.
Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further help with this or any other matter.
Labour MP for Bristol South"