Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bridgnorth drinkers turn down Chancellor’s beer saving

Punters asked for the cost to go up after the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave drinkers an extra penny in their pocket in his recent budget.

Mr Ireland, 59, said he was keen to pass on the 1p saving to his customers but was amazed when they turned it down.

But Mr Ireland said: “The customers are revolting and say they do not know what to do with the 1p change,” he said.

“We have three charity boxes and they are already nearly full and have filled up quite quickly with the extra pennies.”

The pub is collecting for the Bridgnorth Music and Arts Festival, Bridgnorth Hospital League of Friends and spinal research.

Mr Ireland, who stepped in to run the Bell and Talbot, in Salop Street, last month after the previous licensee left the premises, said he had never known anything like it in his 17 years in the pub industry.

“I have never known any customers complain before about a price reduction. It is unprecedented in all my years as a pub landlord but we have now put the price back up.

“We are trying to boost trade after the licensee left but we thought if Mr Osborne was kind enough to reduce the duty we would not be accused of profiteering and reduced the price the day after.”

Mr Ireland is a director of Odley Inns Limited, which also owns Odfellows Wine Bar in Shifnal, and the Coach and Horses in Swan Hill, Shrewsbury.

Last month Chancellor George Osborne scrapped a planned 3p rise in beer duty and replaced it with a 1p cut in the price of a pint.

He also said the alcohol duty escalator - which adds inflation plus two per cent to the price - would be abolished for beer completely.

The brewing industry and real ale drinkers’ group Camra welcomed the news as brilliant’ and ‘momentous’.

The escalator will remain for wine and spirits.

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