Beer Duty / Pubs / 25 January 2013

UK beer sales drop in Q4 2012 – action needed now on tax hikes, say brewers and pubs – new quarterly BBPA ‘Beer Barometer’

  • Pub beer sales down 4.8 per cent on Q4 2011, with off-trade sales down 7.5 per cent
  • Beer sales in Q4 whole of 2012 down 6.2 per cent
  • Urgent need for tax policy change, says BBPA

New figures out today on UK beer sales show that the Treasury’s damaging tax policy continues to hit the sector hard, with a 6. 2 per cent decline in total UK beer sales in the 4th quarter of 2012. On-trade and off-trade sales both struggled, with off trade-sales (shops and supermarkets) down 7.5 per cent and the on-trade (pubs, bars and restaurants) down 4.8 per cent.

The British Beer & Pub Association said its latest UK Quarterly ‘Beer Barometer’, shows a pressing need for a review of the Government’s controversial policy of above inflation tax hikes for beer in the Budget in March – as industry, MPs, and the public are all now demanding.

The fall in consumption of what is largely a UK produced product, means that 138 million fewer pints of beer were enjoyed in Q4 2012, as compared to Q4 2011, with Government revenues also hit. An analysis from Oxford Economics indicates that a duty freeze in March would save 5,000 jobs in the sector this year, which employs almost 1 million people – mostly younger people in Britain’s pubs.

In recent weeks there have been growing calls for a change of Government policy. On 1st November, MPs voted for a review of the escalator, which has so far been refused by the Treasury. This followed a petition signed by over 100,000 calling for government action. Industry also wants a freeze in beer duty in the March Budget to protect pubs, jobs – and Government revenues.

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

“These figures show that the Government needs to stop its full-on tax assault on our vital beer and pub industry. We’ve had tax hikes of 42 per cent since March 2008, which is hugely damaging and completely unacceptable for such an important manufacturing sector. Instead, we could be protecting and creating jobs at a time when the country most needs it.”

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