Osborne must call time on 'punitive' beer tax hikes

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The Independent Online

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.