Pubs call for beer tax rise freeze


Fresh pressure to end the controversial extra tax on beer has been piled on the Government after ministers were told the move would save thousands of jobs.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) renewed its call for the so-called beer duty escalator to be scrapped in this month's Budget, arguing that the Treasury would not lose any revenue.

The association also revealed that alcohol consumption fell by 3.3% last year - the sixth reduction out of the last eight years.

The escalator was introduced by the Labour government in 2008, and is in place until 2014/15, meaning that beer duty is automatically increased by 2% above inflation every year.

Beer tax is higher than in most EU countries and has reached "unprecedented" levels, with the prospect of reaching 50% if another rise is announced in the March 20 Budget, said the BBPA.

Thousands of jobs will be saved if duty is frozen, mainly benefiting younger people who work in pubs, said the report.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "Far from hitting the bottom line, a duty freeze would raise revenues, protect thousands of jobs, allow us to create yet more jobs and help one of our greatest national assets - our network of much-loved British pubs, still struggling in difficult economic times.

"I hope this compelling analysis will persuade the Government that now is the time for change.

False economies in a recession

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