What's worse is that this is a permanent hike which will continue once the VAT holiday ends in January 2010. With the Government already committed to 4p a pint annual tax increases for the next few years, the gloomy prospects for many of our pubs just got that bit bleaker.

With ale becoming ever more expensive, the least that we drinkers should be able to expect is a full pint when we order one. CAMRA recently submitted a petition with over 23,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street calling for legislation to outlaw short measure (at present 95% is considered acceptable by the authorities). Our research shows that one in four pints are short by more than 5%, costing drinkers 461 million a year.

The recession, inevitably, is having an impact on micro-breweries. In recent weeks, Hampshire Brewery and the Moor Brewers of Somerset have gone pop while, locally, Fenland Brewery up at Ely has called in the administrators. There's been a lot of welcome publicity recently (including in the Cambridge News) for CAMRA's call for curbs on supermarkets selling beer and other drinks as "loss leaders". Our Make it the Minimum Campaign seeks a 50p per unit minimum to end cut-price deals.

But will the Government listen?