George Osborne must scrap new beer taxes or else pubs will be calling time for good, according to the British Beer & Pub Association, the lobby group fighting a rearguard action to save the great British boozer.
The Chancellor's beer duty escalator sees tax on the brew rise by 2 per cent above inflation each year, a rate that the BBPA says makes it nearly impossible for many pubs to turn a profit.
The association's chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said scrapping the duty escalator could save 16,000 jobs. "We are facing a further, punitive tax rise of over 5 per cent in the Budget – so action is needed now," she said.
The BBPA said beer generated about £8bn a year in tax revenue. Duty and VAT combined are now at £1.05 per pint – 12 times the level German drinkers pay.