I have received a lot of correspondence from constituents regarding beer duty.
Eastleigh is home to some truly excellent pubs, and I was proud to celebrate them in my maiden speech in the House of Commons; if you take a look at Hansard, you can read my invitation to the former Chancellor to come and pull a pint in Eastleigh. I personally frequent the King and Queen pub in Hamble, and am particularly fond of the pub quizzes that they hold there - I have even had the pleasure of acting as their Quiz-Master on a couple of occasions.
That’s why it was also fantastic to welcome David, John and Duncan from Eastleigh’s Steam Town Brew Company to Westminster to see their brew on tap in the member’s bar in Parliament. The 3.8% Stoke Pale beer was on sale at the Palace of Westminster for the entity of last week and had five star reviews from many of my colleagues across the House. I’d like to thank the team for joining us to celebrate their success. I would also like to thank Meg from Botley Brewery who represented Eastleigh in our ‘Taste of Hampshire’ event held in Parliament. This was a great way to celebrate all of the good food, drink and produce from local businesses across the County.
As many have pointed out, to further support pubs, the Chancellor announced in the Autumn Budget 2018 a freeze on beer, cider, and spirit duties, a decision which I welcome.
I also welcome schemes such as the Asset of Community Value scheme where communities can list facilities of local importance, including pubs. This means that if a pub owner wishes to sell up, the community has six months to come up with a plan and funding in order to try to save it. I am glad that there are now around 2,000 pubs across England listed as assets of community value.