Make beer cheaper and protect 970 people working in the Londonderry ‘pub’

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The ‘pub’ is one of Londonderry’s biggest employers with an estimated 970 people employed in 86 bars in the Foyle constituency, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

The lobby group is warning that if beer tax is hiked by 2p in the budget, the beer drinking community will collectively lose £59,000 next year and at least two jobs will be lost.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan is concerned about the estimates and wants cheaper beer for barmaids and barmen, punters and publicans.

He’s backing the BBPA, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and sending a ‘Message in a Barrel’ calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cut beer duty in the Budget on March 16.

“I am delighted to support the campaign for cutting beer duty - which is the most direct, targeted way of protecting pubs in Derry and throughout the North,” he said.

He says the move would help save the institution of the local pub and protect jobs in the sector.

“A cut to beer duty in the upcoming Budget would help local pubs maintain their important role at the heart of community life, and importantly safeguard jobs,” he added.

Mr Durkan said a cut in beer duty would help the local hospitality industry and boost tourism.

“I have also consistently called on George Osborne to follow the lead of the Irish government in introducing a targeted VAT cut to kick-start the tourism sector here,” said Mr Durkan. “VAT reductions on accommodation, restaurant food and visitor attractions in Derry and throughout the North would not only result in significant increased tourist demand but help to generate employment in the sector for many years to come.”