New figures on UK beer sales show that the Treasury’s tax policy is continuing to hit the sector hard, with a 6. 2% decline in total UK beer sales in the fourth quarter of 2012. On-trade and off-trade sales both struggled, with off trade-sales (shops and supermarkets) down 7.5% and the on-trade (pubs, bars and restaurants) down 4.8%.
The British Beer & Pub Association says its latest UK quarterly Beer Barometer shows a pressing need for a review of the Government’s controversial policy of above-inflation tax hikes for beer in the Budget in March.
The fall in consumption of what is largely a UK produced product means that 138 million fewer pints of beer were enjoyed in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, with Government revenues also hit. An analysis from Oxford Economics indicates that a duty freeze in March would save 5,000 jobs this year in the sector, which employs almost 1 million individuals — mostly younger people.
In recent weeks there have been growing calls for a change of Government policy. On November 1, MPs voted for a review of the escalator, which has so far been refused by the Treasury. This followed a petition signed by more than 100,000 calling for Government action. Industry also wants a freeze in beer duty in the March Budget to protect pubs, jobs and Government revenues.
Brigid Simmonds OBE, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “These figures show that the Government needs to stop its full-on tax assault on our vital beer and pub industry. We’ve had tax hikes of 42% since March 2008, which is hugely damaging and completely unacceptable for such an important sector. Instead, we could be protecting and creating jobs at a time when the country most needs it.”
This blog post is not by Wobbly Wallet but originally appeared on Beer Today: http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=12189