As predicted by others on this blog (see below) the Chancellor decided to use his budget to raise over a billion from new alcohol duties. Apparently this is to tackle 'binge drinking', by making drinks more expensive.
This might be more convincing had the government decide to tackle the places and the drinks that cause genuine problems in towns on Saturday nights. That'll be the vast corporate booze sheds known as 'high volume vertical drinking establishments' (for reasons I go into in the book); the cheap supermarket booze; the mega-cheap shots and those who encourage mass drinking of them for quick profit before they turf the drinkers out into the vomit-stained streets.
Instead they've decided to hit every drink going, and the impact on the traditional pub will be great. CAMRA reckons it will add up to 20p to a pint of real beer. Cue more pressure on landlords, in addition to those catalogued in the post below and in chapter 2 of my book. Cue more pub closures.
The irony being that a traditional community pub is the last place you will get hordes of anti-social 'binge drinkers'. Real pubs foster community spirit; closing them destroys it. But the government seems to have its heart set on finishing off the traditional English local. Where will we drink then? Yate's Wine Lodge? Mine's a triple Bacardi Breezer. And a fight. With Alastair Darling.