Beer Duty / Duty Fraud / General / 24 July 2012

UK beer sales struggle in second quarter –‘Beer Barometer’ from the British Beer & Pub Association

* Beer sales down 5.3 per cent in both pub and the high street, despite strong sales at Jubilee and end of quarter
* March tax hike not boosting revenues – Treasury Minister’s claims on deficit “misguided”
* e-petition demanding an end to punitive tax rises has 68,000 signatures

UK beer sales dipped sharply in the second quarter 2012, as poor weather, and the impact of another substantial tax hike in the March Budget failed to compensate for strong trading around the Jubilee weekend and the Euro 2012 football. These new sales figures come from the British Beer & Pub Association quarterly Beer Barometer, issued today.

The British Beer & Pub Association also says that the six per cent decline in sales means the tax hike has brought the Chancellor no extra revenues. Its Chief Executive, Brigid Simmonds, has called recent claims from Minister Chloe Smith that, the policy was helping to tackle the deficit, “misguided”. UK beer sales have fallen by 15 per cent since the controversial policy was introduced in March 2008, with beer duty up by an eye-watering 42 per cent over the same period. The BBPA and Oxford Economics believe this decision will cost some 5,000 jobs in 2012/13.

On and off trade sales both struggled from April to June. Overall beer sales fell by 5.3 per cent in the quarter compared to last year, with on trade sales down 4.6 and the off trade down 5.9 per cent. The loss means that Britain’s beer drinkers consumed 115 million fewer pints of beer than in the same period last year.

A Government e-petition demanding an end to these punitive tax rises has already attracted over 68,000 signatures, and is racing towards the 100,000 needed to trigger a Parliamentary debate on the issue.

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments:

“The Chancellor can’t change the weather, but he can stop the misguided beer tax hikes that are damaging the sector and doing virtually nothing to help tackle the deficit. The very marginal rise in beer duty revenues the Government is achieving is being all but wiped out by a fall in income from employment and other taxes.

“There is growing public concern over its effect on brewing, pubs and jobs, and we do need urgent action.”

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