Beer Duty / Brewing / General / Supply Chain / 23 October 2012

UK beer sales drop in Q3 – need for urgent freeze of Beer Duty escalator, say brewers and pubs - BBPA ‘Beer Barometer’

  • Pub sales down 4.8 per cent on Q3 last year, with off-trade sales down 6.5 per cent
  • Huge need for tax policy change – 100,000 people call for an end to Beer Duty escalator
  • MPs meet today, to push for fresh debate in Parliament

Government tax policy is damaging the crucial brewing and pub sector, with UK beer sales falling by 5.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2012, according to the British Beer & Pub Association’s latest UK Quarterly ‘Beer Barometer’, published today.

The figures mean that despite the benefits of the Olympics and Euro 2012, beer drinkers enjoyed 117 million fewer pints of beer in Q3 compared with 2011. The reduction in sales is hitting Government revenues as well as jobs, says the BBPA. Analysis from Oxford Economics indicates that a duty freeze in March 2013 would save 5,000 jobs in the sector, which employs almost 1 million people – mostly younger people in Britain’s pubs.

The fight for a fairer tax deal moves up a gear today, with MPs who champion the sector pushing for a full Parliamentary debate on the impact of the escalator, following a petition signed by over 100,000 calling for Government action on the issue. British beer has endured an astonishing 42 per cent tax hike since March 2008. A further, two per cent above inflation increase proposed for Budget 2013 is set to take the figure towards a staggering 50 per cent.

Sales of beer in pubs fell by 4.8 per cent in Q3, with 51 million less pints poured for pubgoers than in the same period in 2011. Supermarkets and off-license sales were down by 6.5 per cent.

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

“If the Government wants to encourage growth, back British business and support local communities, then it must end the Beer Duty escalator.

“The Chancellor must listen to the thousands of people now calling for a change, so the sector can grow, create jobs and contribute more to UK plc.”

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