The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is urging the government to turn back the clock and freeze beer duty once again, as new research confirms that most people think beer duty is too high.
Research carried out by YouGov found that 55% of people who expressed an opinion believe beer duty is too high at 54p per pint. Taxes now make up a third of the cost of a pint, a situation made worse in the spring Budget when the government announced the first rise in beer duty in four years.
This u-turn undid many of the benefits of the three beer duty cuts, says CAMRA, and risks a return to the days of the much-hated beer duty escalator, which other research showed has contributed to 75,000 job losses, 3,700 pub closures and a 24% fall in beer sales in pubs.
At this week’s Great British Beer Festival, visitors will be asked to back the campaign by calling on the government to bring back a Budget for beer drinkers and pledge a beer duty freeze for the whole of this Parliament, as well as permanent business rate relief for pubs in England.
Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s national chairman, said: “Pubs are a huge part of many people’s lives. If people can’t afford to visit their local, we will see even more pubs close their doors forever, hurting jobs, the local economy and the community. We urgently need to ease the tax burden on our pubs in order to ensure that pub-going remains an affordable activity for the majority of Brits.”
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “This YouGov survey shows there is widespread public concern over the sky-high rates of tax on British beer.
“This is totally understandable — beer tax rates are three times the EU average, five times higher than in Belgium, and an astonishing 11 times higher than in Germany.
“Further increases, including inflation-based rises, are unsustainable if we want to protect Britain’s brewers and pubs. Action is needed from the Chancellor in the autumn Budget.”