The Fair Pint campaign have cautiously welcomed the launch of a campaign by CAMRA to change EU law to allow differential amounts of duty to be charged on draught beer, but given that beer duty is paid by producers and importers rather than retailers they have warned that any changes will only help to keep pubs open if the reductions are directly passed on to publicans.
"Moves to protect the position of draught beer by allowing for beer duty to be lower on draught beer would be welcome. However, as everyone in the trade knows, beer duty is not paid by retailers but is a cost which is absorbed by brewers and importers.
"Reductions will only help pubs to stay open if there is an explicit guarantee that any reductions are passed on in full to publicans and publicans see a real reduction in beer prices.
"The recent Business and Enterprise Select Committee Report showed a combination of landlords using the tie to supply beer at excessively high prices and high rents meant that most tied pub businesses were struggling to survive.
"Tied publicans face paying up to 80p a pint more for their beer than free of tie pubs, They are desperate to see the price of their beer fall. Duty reductions will not be effective unless they mean that all publicans can buy beer at a price which allows them to make a living from their pubs."