Pubs selling 144m fewer pints since Budget

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beer sales Great depression

On-trade beer volumes have plummeted
On-trade beer volumes have plummeted
Chancellor's alcohol duty increase has had a dramatic effect on on-trade beer sales but off-trade sales have risen once again.

Pubs, bars and restaurants have sold 144m fewer pints since the Chancellor's anti-pub Budget.

On-trade beer sales declined 10.6% between April and June compared to last year following Alistair Darling's decision to slap 4p on a pint and raise duty 2% above inflation for the next four years.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) repeated its claim that beer sales are now at their lowest level since the Great Depression.

In just three months, the BBPA estimates the Treasury has collected £88m less in beer duty and VAT than in the same period last year.

"Beer sales are on the slide and the tax increase in the Budget has made it worse," said BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward.

"This is hitting Britain's brewers and pubs hard. It's also creating a large hole in the Chancellor's pocket with the Treasury's tax take also down.

"This must call into question the Government's planned beer tax escalator. Where's the logic in taxing more when you're taking less?"

However, off-trade sales rose by 3.8% as the shift to drinking at home continues.

Overall beer sales for the quarter were down 4.5% representing a fall of 1.2m pints a day.

Over the first half year beer sales in the on-trade were down 9.6% but 7.4% up in the off-trade.

Change of approach

Hayward added: "With around one million jobs reliant on the trade, the loss of 1.6m pints a day is having a serious impact, not just on the sector itself, but on the UK economy as a whole.

"Beer sales in pubs are now at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s - down seven million pints a day from the height of the market in 1979.

"We're trying to manage a faltering economy, falling consumer spending and escalating costs on everything from raw materials to fuel. The last thing we need is another tax increase.

"We need a change of approach from the Government. Brewing is a major industry, beer our national drink and pubs a treasured part of our national culture.

"Yet with further duty increases planned, the Treasury continues to see the brewing industry as a 'cash cow' to be milked in future budgets. These falling tax revenues show that it's time for a rethink."

Fight the Hikes

The MA is urging licensees to get involved to Fight the Hikes on beer. To join the campaign click here here​.

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