CAMPAIGNING MP Nigel Evans has urged a Treasury minister to cut beer duty again to help pubs.

He said government action must be taken to stop more closing their doors for good.

The Ribble Valley Tory backbencher made his plea in a Westminster debate on Beer Taxation and Pubs.

Mr Evans, president of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, told Exchequer Secretary Robert Jenrick: “The pub is such an important focal point for people. I live in a rural village and it is great when people can get together.

“The best way to see that is to go to a village where the only pub has closed. It tears the heart out of that village.

“I have three breweries of different sizes in my patch.

“Taxation on beer is huge. At £13billion, it is massive. We need to look at ways of lowering that taxation.

“There is something wrong when taxation goes up, people drink less and less money actually goes to the Inland Revenue.

“There should be a common-sense approach to lower taxation, increase sales and ensure the government gets more money out of that.

“Taxation is high if the alcohol by volume rate is high; it drops only at below 2.8 per cent. We need to look at ways of increasing the rate to 3.5 per cent.

“It would encourage more people to drink lower strength alcohol and have a great time.”

Mr Jenrick said: "With respect to beer duty, we have taken a number of steps over the past nine years to improve the situation in a country that has been widely acknowledged to have high levels of alcohol taxation.

“I appreciate that there is always more that we could do this respect.”