Urgent moves must be made to save the traditional British pub, said UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall today.
A long time advocate of UKIP's 'Save the Pub' campaign, Mr Nuttall spoke out in support of views of a think-tank which has pointed out that since 2006 the number of pubs has fallen by a staggering 20% – from 58,000 to 48,000.
"It also points out that alcohol taxes in this country are so high they are responsible for 40% of the entire EU alcohol duty. A report from the Institute of Economic Affairs agrees with UKIP that the smoking ban and alcohol duty rises are leading culprits and echoes our calls for smoking rooms to be allowed in pubs.
"I concur with their report that policies such as the smoking ban and alcohol duty escalator are responsible for speeding up the rate of closures in the past decade compared to the last 40 years’ steady decline in the pub industry,” Mr Nuttall said.
"The IEA attributes the reduction in real wages to this surge of closures and that aspect has not been helped by unlimited immigration which was led to wage compression.
"The government must act to save the pub, which is at the heart of local communities. They must be able to compete on a level playing fields with supermarkets which frequently charge less for beer than water.
"And, as we have seen, the ready availability of cheap alcohol has led to people getting tanked up before they even go out which can result in violent and loutish behaviour on the streets of our cities and towns.
"I hope the government will listen to those trying to save the British pub - before it is too late," he added.