Do you remember the good old days not so long ago when you could walk down to the Dog and Duck on a Friday afternoon, get so fvcking drunk your guts all fell out your ass and it only cost you fifteen quid? The sun was shining, the dogs were barking and the pub garden was filled with total babes with their cans out? Youth’s Elysium ever sunny huh?
Now it’s raining and your pint of tepid dishwater costs four quid and you’ve only got £11.64 in your wallet. And you’re not getting paid for at least two hundred years. Where did those sun-kissed glory days go? What happened? I’ve only been legally allowed in pubs for 8 years and I remember. I remember £2.15 for a pint of Best and a bag of pig-biscuits.
Now it costs three quid to use the shitter and The Dog and Duck has turned into yet another beige gastro-pub. Now it’s full of sour faced retired tories who sit in these insipid palaces of pseudo-opulence, swilling their Chablis and choking down their crayfish linguine, guffawing and whooping about each other’s Range Rovers. Meanwhile, here I am huddled in the corner trying to wash down the lump in my throat with a £3.90 pint of Carlsberg Export, banished to the soviet wasteland provided for me to have a fvcking rollie in. What have I become?
It fvcking sucks doesn’t it?
I own a pub and the cheapest lager I have on tap costs £3.40. The most expensive is £4.20. That is a lot for beer even if it is premium. I have tried to be fair with my pricing, I have to continue eating so I have to operate at a profit, I am not a desirous man, I never really have been. These prices are at their lowest in order for me to continue living. Yet it is too much. Why? Why is this?
Yesterday at midnight, the beer trade was hit with yet another rise in duty. The government, in their infinite fvcking wisdom, have invented what is called a Beer Duty Escalator. Basically beer duty rises at a higher rate than that of general inflation. As the budget is released we can expect a 3% rise in inflation in September. The beer industry will be handed a nice 5% increase in the cost of beer for sale in both pubs and supermarkets. This additional 2% levy has been enforced every year since it was introduced in 2008.
Apparently this is part of the Government’s attempt to address, and I quote our esteemed chancellor George Osborne, “the growing problem of alcohol abuse, and the many billions of pounds it costs our NHS and criminal justice system”.
The core of the problem, according to Georgey Porgey, is people drinking reasonably priced beer in pubs. Nice one Einstein. What about those spastics that buy twenty four WKD’s and fuckin smash the cunts before they hit “the town” at 11.30. Those bastards that buy two vodka red bulls when they get to the disco dancing club, headbutt a poof and smash a window on the way out.
No that can’t be it. It must be caused by evening drinkers paying £2.80 a pint. They are the ones who are weighing so heavily on our poor justice system.
Over one hundred members of parliament expressed their concern about the duty escalator yet it fell of deaf ears as Osborne announced, “I have no further changes to make to the duty rates set out by my predecessor.” This was an opportunity to give the pub trade the small break it so desperately needs but it has now passed and you can pretty much expect any number of pubs in your town to be closed by Christmas as a direct result of this sucker punch.
Beer tax has risen by 42% in the last four years and by 60% since 2004. This is expected to cost the industry five thousand jobs in the coming year along with hundreds of pub closures across the country. That is not to mention the catastrophic decline the industry has already suffered in the last decade.
It doesn’t only affect the likes of me and my colleagues. It has affected – and will continue to affect – all of you as a 25% fall in beer sales over the last 8 years has cost the government millions of pounds in terms of VAT recouped and ploughed back into our ailing economy, not to mention rising welfare costs as many pub workers now find themselves on the dole. This can only mean a rise in tax across the board, from commodities to luxuries. Fags will go up by 37p a pack on Sunday. Have you noticed the price of fuel has gone up? It’s all connected.
Britain pays 40% of Europe’s tax bill on beer yet we drink 13% of it. This is you. You, reading this. You are paying other people’s tax. And as of yesterday you will be paying more. You are the one paying £3.70 a pint. The tax man’s cut of your £3.70 equates to him chugging a third of your pint before you even get it to your parched, exasperated gob. It is real and it is happening to you.
I’m afraid there is no happy ending here. The only thing we can do is hold on to our arses and hope to fvck we can survive on spaghetti hoops till the next election when we can all pick another bunch of ruddy faced Eton rich kids to play government with our very livelihoods.
Until then get down to your local pub, not Tesco’s, give your money to the bartender, drink your beer and don’t you fvcking dare whine to him or her about the price. We all got ourselves here. It is not through landlord’s greed that you are getting fleeced. These prices are necessary for pubs to continue to exist. So be happy you can even go out at all. And after all, your minimum wage barman probably didn’t vote for David Cameron did he?