Pub closures spark beer tax plea

Pubs are closing at the rate of 12 a week, with "crippling" beer taxes threatening the future of the industry, the Government has been warned.

Real ale campaign group Camra said that between last September and March, eight pubs closed every week in towns and four in rural areas.

Lancashire and the West Midlands were hardest hit by the closures, according to the study covering England, Wales and Scotland.

Camra said more than 33,000 consumers have now signed a national e-petition calling for an end to above-inflation beer tax increases in response to a 42% increase in duty since 2008.

Camra's chief executive Mike Benner said: "Whether situated in a small village, city high street, or on the edge of a housing estate, pubs are so central to our society that whole communities can grow around a particular pub.

"A threat to the future of traditional pubs is therefore also a threat to countless social groups within Britain that thrive because of their local.

"Unsustainable beer tax increases by the Government are ripping the heart out of community centres, but with over 33,000 consumers having recently signed the beer tax e-petition, beer drinkers and pub-goers are actively voicing their discontent."