Thousands of jobs will be lost unless the Government halts plans for a "punitive" tax rise on beer, industry leaders have warned.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said 16,000 jobs will be axed by 2015 under the beer duty "escalator", which will see taxes jump by over 5% in next month's Budget.
The association said duty and VAT have reached an "eye watering" £1.05 per pint, 12 times the level in Germany, leading to a fall in beer sales and the closure of 16 pubs a week.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "We are facing a further, punitive tax rise of over 5% in the Budget, so action is needed now.
"We need policies that support pubs, and to put an end to these totally unsustainable tax rises.