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Camra Budget 2002 Comment

Good news for real ale drinkers.
CAMRA has warmly welcomed todays budget annoucement that Britains's 350 small breweries are to benefit from a fairer system of excise duty.

Mike Benner, Head of Campaigns and Communications said, ''This is excellent news and we're very pleased that the Chancellor has responded positively after twenty years of campaining. This will help even out the playing field for Britain's 350 small brewing companies which will promote competition and increase consumer choice.''

Britain's 350 small breweries have less than 2% of the beer market, but they produce some 2,000 real ales tocater for local tastes. The four biggest global brewers have around 85% of the market.

A progressive system of beer tax will help:

1. Increase investment in small breweries which are often based in rural or ecomonically marginal areas.
2. Improve cash flow - one of the biggest threats to small businesses.
3. Create local jobs.
4. Remove a major barrier to market entry.
5. Be almost self-financing as multi-plier effects come into play.
6. Promote choice and diversity for consumers.

Mike Benner added, ''Hopefully we will see a far more interesting range of locally brewed beers on pub bars from now on.''

Beer Duty Freeze
CAMRA also welcomed the general freeze on beer duty. Mike Benner, Head of Campaigns and Communications said, ''This is the second consecutive year that duty has been frozen which is effectively a small cut. We will continue to push for significant reductions in duty which will stamp out smuggling and help boost this important British industry.''

CAMRA had called for a duty cut of only 2 pence in this budget which would have been enough to significantly reduce the bootleggers' profit.

News from Wentworth Brewery
Wentworth Brewery also broadly welcomed the changes but was still waiting to find out the full details.

Two special ales to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee have been brewed, Royal (3.8% abv) and Whistlejacket (8.3% abv), of which brewer Gary Sherrif is very proud, and will be available from the usual outlets.

They have formed a pub company called 'The Heart of the Village' and their first pub is The Royal Albert Hotel at Blacker Hill near Hoyland, south of Barnsley. Three Wentworth beers are on sale and meals will be available as soon as new kitchen is ready.

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