ALE November/December 1997 No. 289


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

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