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Budget 2013: PMA calls on readers to say 'enough is enough' over beer tax

By Mike Berry , 07-Mar-2013
Last updated the 07-Mar-2013 at 09:40 GMT

Related topics: General News

If Chancellor George Osborne goes ahead with plans to increase beer tax by 5% in the Budget later this month, this will bring the rise to a staggering 50% over the past five years.

Budget 2013: Chancellor George Osborne beer tax price rise

Figures produced as part of the British Beer & Pub Association’s Budget submission show that beer taxes in Britain have reached unprecedented levels. The Publican’s Morning Advertiser (PMA) is now saying “Enough is enough”.

With fewer than two weeks until the Budget, pressure is growing on the Chancellor with The Sun newspaper and the TaxPayers’ Alliance joining the campaign to freeze beer tax last week.

The PMA is calling on readers to email their MPs, asking them to write to the Chancellor urging him to scrap the beer duty escalator. This can be achieved via the Campaign for Real
Ale (CAMRA) website.

Beer tax is higher than in any other EU country bar Finland, and is 13 times high-er than in Germany. In the pub sector, approximately 35% of turnover is taken up by some form of taxation and regulation — an unsustainable burden for small businesses across the country.

The BBPA claims that if the beer duty escalator is scrapped, it would save more than 5,000 jobs, mostly for younger people, increasing to nearly 10,000 by 2014/15 — the planned final year of the escalator.

Importantly, this would happen without any overall loss of revenue to the Treasury. A tax freeze would raise an additional £5m in revenue across the whole tax base, mainly through a boost to employment tax revenues, and avoiding welfare payments from reduced employment in pubs.

In its submission, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers said the impact of duty increases is felt more keenly by pubs than supermarkets and off-licences as it encourages people to drink at home rather than the supervised environment of the pub.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Far from hitting the bottom line, a duty freeze would raise revenues, protect thousands of jobs, and help one of our greatest national assets — our network of much-loved British pubs, still struggling in difficult economic times.

“I hope this compelling analysis will persuade the Government that now is the time for change.”

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