BREWING: Crippling beer taxes will be put under the spotlight by ministers after an e-petition on the issue hit the 100,000 signature mark.
The e-petition is one of only 12 to reach the 100,000 milestone and trigger a parliamentary debate, despite 16,000 other petitions being submitted.
The debate will focus on beer duty escalator, which was introduced in 2008. Critics say this has successively penalised Britain's beer drinkers by automatically increasing duty levels by 2 per cent above inflation every year. As a result, tax on beer has increased by over 40 per cent since 2008, with a third of every pub pint now being swallowed in tax. Over 4,500 pubs have also closed over this same period.
Colin Valentine, Camra National Chairman, said: "With all the battering it has taken, the beer and pub sector still manages to contribute over £21 billion a year to the UK's GDP, and supports one million jobs, so it's about time the Government honoured its pledge to be "pub friendly."
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FINANCE: The first wave of cash from the £82.5 million Start-Up Loans scheme is now being distributed.
Start-Up Loans aim to provide budding entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 24 with a range of support, including access to a business mentor and capital, in the region of £2,500, to help get their business idea moving.
The announcement was made by Business Secretary Vince Cable as he spoke of the Government's support for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) at the Made entrepreneurial festival in Sheffield.
He said: "With more young people than ever before looking to start their own business, Start-Up loans will provide the support they need to help get their business ideas off the ground.
"The scheme is not just about money. They will also get access to professional mentors who will pass on their knowledge and expertise about running successful enterprises."
The scheme is being led by entrepreneur James Caan's Start-Up Loans Company. So far 1,200 people have registered an interest in applying for a loan.