The e-petition to scrap the beer duty escalator has reached its target of 100,000 signatures, which is likely to lead to a debate on the issue in Parliament, writes Gurjit Degun. Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said: “It is great news that the petition has now reached 100,000 signatures. “This is as a result of a wide range of people in the pub industry as well as pubgoers coming together to tell the Government exactly how they feel over this unfair tax. “Pubs are an integral part of Great Britain and it is important that the government takes note of the frustration of those involved in the industry. We trust that they will once again look at the issue, in the light of this excellent campaign.” However, Andrew Griffiths MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG), said that this is only the “end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end”. The escalator, which was introduced in 2008 by former Chancellor Alistair Darling, puts up the tax on a pint by 2% above inflation every year, and has resulted in a 42% tax hike since 2008. The move should prompt a debate in the House of Commons, although this is not automatic, according to Parliamentary procedure. Greg Mulholland MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, along with Griffiths will be pushing for the full three-hour discussion between MPs. The two MPs will now have to present the motion to the backbench business committee, which is responsible for scheduling debates on e-petitions. The committee meets weekly to consider subjects for debate, although it is unlikely to take place until after the party conferences, which come to an end in late October. Griffiths said: “The beer duty escalator introduced by Labour and continued by this Government is damaging pubs and urgently needs to be scrapped. Reaching 100,000 signatures is a landmark opportunity to hold the Government to account and debate the effect that this is having on the industry. “This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. There is still a great deal more work to do to get a change in tax policy and we shouldn’t kid ourselves that we are anywhere near to achieving that yet. There needs to be a continued effort from MPs and the industry to bring about the change we need.” Mulholland added: “It’s high time the Government noticed that this does not make sense and the level of beer duty we pay in this country. With MPs from all parties calling for a scrap, we expect a strong backbench support to come forward. The tax is damaging to Britain’s pubs and breweries.” Colin Valentine, Campaign for Real Ale national chairman, said: "Joining a very small minority of e-petitions to have ever reached the 100,000 landmark is a mammoth achievement, and it’s been fantastic to witness the beer and pub industry uniting to fight back against this issue. "Over the last six months, CAMRA has been collecting signatures at beer festivals, organising local campaigning events, as well as supplying pubs with petition material. On CAMRA’s part, we have devoted a great amount of resources to this campaign, so we are delighted this has all paid off. "CAMRA’s next step is not to rest on our laurels but to maintain the impetus with our Mass Parliamentary Lobby, which will reinforce to MPs the groundswell of support for this campaign. With all the battering it has taken, the beer and pub sector still manages to contribute over £21bn 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'." The e-petition was launched in February by Wychwood brewery. Marketing manager Chris Keating said: “We put together this campaign to show our support pre March’s budget to emphasise how the nation feels strongly about the institution that is the great British pub.”