Hooray! We all won! It is great news that the beer duty escallator has been scrapped – this means less financial pressure on pubs and beer consumers. Read the full CAMRA HQ press release here: http://www.camra.org.uk/pressreleases
However, let us be realistic – don’t expect your local pub to be reducing their £3.50 pint to £3.49. Even if they do, briefly, it is a purely symbolic gesture. For a taste of reality here’s what Rob Scahill, landlord at the Orange Tree in Baldock (our 2013 Pub of the Year), has to say about pricing on the back of the budget news:
I have just spoken to the Greene King press office and asked for their position on when this reduction will be passed onto their tenanted pubs. We received notification of a 3.5% increase across the board effective from 4th March and I have still to implement this price rise, instead choosing to wait for this Budget to see how much more my total price increase should be.
Obviously now I am expecting a reduction from Greene King in their wholesale tied prices for beer, which I hope they will announce shortly. I therefore expect a price rise at The Orange Tree in the order of only 10p a pint – the first price increase here since July 2011.
For us drinkers today’s news represents a reduction in the increase of the price in a pint. That isn’t as jolly as we’d all like it to be – but it is a relief all the same.