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21st March 2012

Budget Beer Tax hikes hugely damaging for brewing, pubs and the one million jobs that depend on them

  • Beer tax escalator will cost jobs and damage economy, says BBPA’s Brigid Simmonds
  • Sign the e-petition on line,
  • Debate on huge Beer Tax hikes now needed in  Parliament

 Commenting on today’s five per cent rise in beer duty, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“This is a huge lost opportunity to put British jobs and pubs first. Beer tax has now risen by 42 cent since the misguided ‘escalator’ policy was introduced just four years ago. It means the loss of over 5,000 jobs this year, and hundreds of pub closures.

“Since 2004, the tax on beer has risen by 60 per cent, but tax revenues have fallen far short, with only a 10 per cent rise in duty revenues despite the huge toll in lost jobs and pubs – and lost revenue through VAT as beer sales have fallen by 25 per cent. It beggars belief that further hikes are planned next year. The Government must rethink this damaging policy before even more harm is done to the British brewing and the pub trade.”

The BBPA has also joined with CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) and SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers), calling for those who treasure Britain’s beers and pubs to sign the e-petition to ‘Stop the Beer Duty Escalator’.

Brigid Simmonds continued: “Successive Chancellors have ignored the views of industry, consumers and indeed large numbers of their Parliamentary colleagues for far too long.

“We need a full debate in Parliament about the wider impact the duty escalator is having on Britain’s brewers and pubs, and the hard-pressed British beer-drinker. The UK already has the second highest beer duty rate in Europe and British consumers pay 40 per cent of the EU’s beer tax bill, despite only drinking 13 per cent of its beer.”

“We need recognition that the beer and pub industry is a key contributor to the UK economy. The sector supports nearly one million jobs, with over 300,000 young people directly employed. Continued tax hikes will cost jobs and damage the economy.”

Colin West, Executive Director of the Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain, adds: “The continuation of an increasingly high duty regime for beer is not good news for investment or employment in the UK malting industry and the wider beer supply chain. Maltsters are the link between brewers and barley farmers, and provide employment for hundreds while ensuring that British beer can be made from British ingredients.”

Ruth Evans, Chief Executive of BFBI, adds:  “More than 40,000 UK taxpaying individuals are represented by our membership and their jobs depend upon the sustainability of the brewing and pub industry.   It is not only the 40,000 member employees who are affected by beer taxation within the Budget – their own supply chains are affected as well as the next supply chain.  In other words, practically every UK taxpayer in the country is affected by this issue.

“However, beyond the issue of jobs, Government appears to have forgotten that the pub is often the heart of a community, where a large percentage of funds are raised for charities, sports facilities, and local services. Thus, taxation will affect the “Big Society”, something David Cameron has stated as a “Mission”.

“BFBi asks Government to re-evaluate its policy on beer taxation in the Budget and apply a more construction, positive and sustainable approach.”



For further information please contact:

Neil Williams, Communications Manager Tel: (020) 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779

Gareth Barrett, Public Affairs Officer Tel: (020) 7627 9154