Scrapping an automatic annual rise in beer duty is one of a package of measures needed to bolster the country’s ailing pub trade.

That was the claim made by MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) during a Parliament-ary debate on the beer duty escalator.

Otley’s MP, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, joined others last week in calling on the Government to get rid of the “hugely damaging” tax at the 2013 budget.

He said: “The beer duty escalator is unfair to brewers and, whereas supermarkets can absorb the increase in the price of beer, pubs cannot.

“This can further increase the price difference between a can in the supermarket and a pint in the pub, which is a controlled and sociable environment.

“We should, however, be clear the escalator is not the only problem facing pubs. The Minister must get a guarantee from all the large pub-owning companies that if the escalator is scrapped they pass this on to tenants and lower prices. I also hope the Treasury will look at further positive tax measures that recognise the important place pubs play in communities.”

Mr Mulholland is also pushing for planning loopholes, which allow pubs to easily be turned into supermarkets, to be closed.