News from Christopher Leslie, my MP, 3/4/12:
As we approach the Chancellor’s Budget on 21st March, the eyes of many in the brewing trade will be focused on what happens to beer duty. We are fortunate to have a very successful regional brewery at Castle Rock near the station, which I took the opportunity to visit this week (see picture below with Managing Director Colin Wilde looking at their ‘copper’ boiler). They produce a fine range of regular beers, from dark to pale and at different strengths – and it was fascinating to see the process from start to finish. The beer trade has evolved enormously in recent decades, and there is now a growing market for high quality local beers, although the supermarket cheap end still undercuts on the basis of price and quantity. We need to keep an eye on how the beer duty system is structured, so that it does not advantage the mass production end over the bespoke and higher quality smaller brewers who we need to support as much as possible.
All sounds like good news, although at time of writing he has yet to sign the Early Day Motion that Andrew Griffiths has put forward. Have a look at it, and have a look if your MP has signed. If they haven't, drop them an email or a letter. In my experience MPs are usually happy to hear from constituents, and for the sake of a few minutes of your time, you can get them to make a difference. If you, or anyone else you know, needs more convincing, you should read Pete Brown's blog post on the subject. Signing the e-petition is a good thing, but I think letting your MP know about how you feel on this is a lot more powerful.
PS. I should probably have mentioned Find Your MP, in case you're not sure of who to write to.