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Osborne must call time on 'punitive' beer tax hikes

George Osborne must scrap new beer taxes or else it will be time at the bar for good, says 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 makes it nearly impossible to turn a profit for many pubs, says the BBPA.

The BBPA's chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, pictured, said scrapping the 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. We need policies that support pubs, and to put an end to these totally unsustainable tax rises," she said.

Beer already generates around £8bn a year in tax revenue, says the trade body. And 68 per cent of all pub sales are for beer. Duty and VAT are now at £1.05 per pint – 12 times the beer duty level in Germany.