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Pub beer sales suffer under big Beer Tax hikes – BBPA Beer Barometer


*Pub sales down 6.0% on same quarter last year, with off-trade sales up 4.7% *Swing shows lasting damage of Beer Tax hikes, says BBPA’s Brigid Simmonds *Public urged to get behind e-petition to stop tax rises

Britain’s pubs have seen a six per cent fall in beer sales in the first quarter of 2012, as they bore the brunt of continued, huge rises in the tax on beer, according to the latest quarterly ‘Beer Barometer’ from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), issued today. In contrast, off trade sales were up by nearly five per cent.

The BBPA believes that current pressures on the beer and pub sector, on which almost one million jobs depend, further highlight the poor decision of the Government to raise Beer Tax by a further five per cent in the March Budget – making for an astonishing 42 per cent tax hike since March 2008.

There is some comfort in the figures, in that beer sales are now falling at a slower rate than in the previous four years. Overall beer sales fell by 1.4 per cent in the quarter compared to last year. In the year to March 2012, overall beer sales were down 2.9 per cent, following the 7 per cent rise in beer duty last March.

The recent Budget tax hike was made under the controversial ‘duty escalator’ policy, despite widespread calls to rein in the rises. The BBPA and Oxford Economics believe this decision will cost some 5,000 jobs in 2012/13. A Government e-petition demanding an end to these punitive tax rises has already attracted over 28,000 signatures.

The decline in pub sales amounts to 57 million less pints enjoyed by Britain’s pub-goers, compared to last year’s first quarter.

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

“These figures show the Chancellor was totally wrong to raise beer tax again in his Budget, as this discredited policy continues to hit pubs hard. This key British industry could be an engine of growth for the economy – but poor tax policy is damaging our potential. The public are getting behind calls for a change in policy, and signing the e-petition in their thousands. I hope people will continue to respond positively and back a tax freeze – and I hope the Government will listen.”

Notes to editors:

The British Beer & Pub Association is the UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector. Its members account for 96 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and own half of Britain’s 51,000 pubs

Stop the beer duty escalator – sign the e-petition here

Beer sales support around one million jobs and generate nearly £8 billion in tax revenues.

Beer duty was increased by 5 per cent in the March 2012 Budget. The total increase in beer duty since March 2008 stands at 42 per cent. The Government’s controversial beer tax ‘escalator’ policy means increases of two per cent above inflation until 2014/15.

The BBPA has a long-established and authoritative reputation for the publication of statistics on the UK’s brewing and pub sector. The BBPA’s Beer Barometer will generally be available within one month of quarter-end. A change has been made in the methodology of the calculations in this quarter’s Beer Barometer, to better reflect the entire UK beer market including imports and the microbrewery sector. Previous data has been readjusted accordingly.

In addition to the data available with this press release more detailed data is available to purchase from the BBPA. This includes a more detailed look at category performance and monthly breakdowns. For information about the data that BBPA sells, please contact David Sheen.


» UK Quarterly Beer Barometer Q1 2012


Beer Duty, General

For further information contact:

Neil Williams
Head of Media
Tel: 020 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779

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