Conservative MPs petition Chancellor to lower tax on beer in Budget
Chancellor Philip Hammond faces pressure from dozens of Tory MPs to use the Budget to cut tax on beer.
At least 44 Conservatives have signed a letter asking for beer duty to be reduced in the November 22 Budget in an effort to safeguard Britain's pubs.
Senior Tory Nigel Evans, president of the all-party parliamentary beer group, said: "The battle to save the pub is on. The battle to reduce taxation is definitely on."
He added: "We have got a letter going around, just to Tory Members of Parliament. At the moment we have got 44 signatures, 44 Conservative MPs have already signed to say they want to see a reduction in duty on beer. "
Mr Evans said he hoped that 50 MPs would be persuaded to sign and then the letter would be presented to Mr Hammond.
Former chancellor George Osborne cut or froze beer duty in successive budgets from 2013, but Mr Hammond announced an inflation-linked rise in March.
He is under pressure from the industry to announce a 1p cut in the duty on a pint.
Research by the TaxPayers' Alliance pressure group indicated that brewers had increased investment in the UK since Mr Osborne scrapped the beer duty escalator and started cutting the levy.
Investment in 2016 was £1.96 billion, which is £800 million more than in 2013 when the escalator was scrapped and Mr Osborne introduced the first of three 1p cuts.
TaxPayers' Alliance chief executive John O'Connell said: "Cutting taxes on beer has led to huge investment in industry, helping the economy, consumers and creating jobs.
"The beer industry is massively over-taxed, and any further increases would scare off further investment as well as risking thousands of jobs. Further cuts to beer duty would see even more investment in an important industry."
The call comes after it emerged sales of beer in Britain's pubs, bars and restaurants have fallen by the biggest margin for five years.
The British Beer and Pub Association called earlier this month for a tax cut as figures showed around 35 million fewer pints were sold in the three months to September compared with the same quarter last year - a fall of 3.6%.