ANDOVER’S MP has called on the government to cut beer duty after shocking statistics reveal the number of pubs closing in the region.

Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire, says that 13 pubs have been lost since 2010, and has backed the ‘Long Live the Local Campaign’ to try and reverse that.

Announcing his support for the campaign, Mr Malthouse, who is also Policing Minister, said: “We’re lucky to have some great pubs in North West Hampshire, not only do they create jobs and contribute to the local economy, they are the heart of our communities and we must help them thrive.

“Our local pubs pay some £16m a year in taxes, and one of the big issues pub landlords raise with me is the burden of tax they face. Thankfully we’re seeing business rate cuts for pubs, now I’d like us to see if we can cut beer duty which is hitting our pubs hard.”

The 89 pubs in the North West Hampshire constituency directly employ 1,185 people and invest more than £3 million in the local economy.

Mr Malthouse also highlighted how the industry is a great employer of young people - almost 600 people, around half of all jobs in the industry.

The ‘Long Live the Local’ campaign is fronted by Britain’s Beer Alliance, a group of publicans and microbreweries who are celebrating pubs and raising awareness of the challenges they face.

Mr Malthouse recently spoke about the challenges of the beer industry and helping the local pub in the latest episode of his podcast ‘The Maltcast’.

In the UK, beer duty is three times the EU average, with the government pocketing £3.5 billion every year. When you consider the other taxes on pubs and brewers, the figure goes up to almost £10 billion.

It comes after the Advertiser previously reported how 48 pubs in Andover have closed.

The Merrie Monk, on New Street, is one of these fatalities, closing in 2009.

It also comes after the Crown Inn, in Upton, opened just three months after closing.

They were awarded the prestigious Bib Gourmand, which recognises good quality and good value food.

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