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Britain's beer duty compared with EU Member States

On 04/03/16 by Tom Pratt (Campaigns and Communications Officer)

You may have seen a story in the Sun on Sunday, published last weekend, highlighting the ‘bevvy burden’ placed on British beer drinkers, taking their story from figures we’ve recently compiled on duty rates around Europe ahead of the Budget announcement on 16th March.

The headline speaks of Brits paying ‘13x more in beer tax than Germans’, yet our figures show that beer drinkers in Britain also pay more than those in Belgium, France and Spain. In fact, only the Government of Finland, charging 72p in duty for every pint, charges more on a 5% abv beer than the Treasury’s 52p per pint.

The full league table of EU duty rates is shown in the chart below. Even the EU average, of 17p, is three times lower than the British rate.

Duty rates across the EU

British drinkers in total are paying around 40% of all beer duty collected throughout the EU, whilst consuming only 12% of the beer.

These wide variations exist despite our successful work in helping to secure a hat-trick of beer duty cuts over the last three budgets.

Over 50 MPs have joined us in asking the Chancellor to #cutbeertax by leaving their ‘Message in a Barrel’ at a recent event in Parliament, urging the Chancellor to cut beer duty rates again, and others have shown their support by signing Early Day Motion 919.

The beer and pub sector supports almost 900,000 jobs, and contributes over £22bn to our GDP, figures that serve to underline why further cuts in beer duty are so vital in the forthcoming Budget.

A duty reduction on March 16th will be another step in the right direction in closing the gap with our European neighbours, but more importantly will help consumers and keep community pubs open.


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