Budget 2011: Trade groups speak out against 'hammer blow'

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pub association, Duty escalator, Public house, Beer, Alcoholic beverage

The fight to end the duty escalator will continue despite the knockback in today's Budget, the British Beer & Pub Association has vowed. Chief...

The fight to end the duty escalator will continue despite the knockback in today's Budget, the British Beer & Pub Association has vowed.

Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said the "failed policy" was a "hammer blow", adding: "The fight to end this damaging policy continues."

She argued the escalator, introduced by Labour, will not raise any more money for the Treasury, cost 10,000 jobs this year and see many more pubs close.

Simmonds added: "Increasing the tax on beer in line with other types of drinks is also a missed opportunity to recognise beer's wider economic contribution."

But she said the government deserved credit for the 50 per cent reduced rate for beers below 2.8 per cent ABV. "It will act as a spur to innovation in what is a vital UK industry, and over time, should help nudge consumers towards lower-strength drinks," Simmonds said.

CAMRA said the 7.2 rise in beer duty would see average duty and VAT on a pub pint now exceed £1. It also claimed the price of a pint could rise by up to 10p at the bar.

Mike Benner, CAMRA's chief executive, said: 'It is incredible to consider that Britain's beer drinkers are forced to endure the second highest rate of beer tax in Europe, particularly when the Prime Minister promised a "pub friendly Government" with the pub at the heart of the Big Society.

"By penalising the vast majority of responsible pub goers, the Government is not getting to the root of the problem, which remains cheap alcohol sold in an irresponsible manner in the off trade."

And the Society of Independent Brewers said the said escalator increase was "ruinous" to the nation's thriving local brewing sector.

SIBA chairman Keith Bott said, "This is a real kick in the teeth to the local brewing sector, one of the few British success stories of recent years. Local brewers are just the kind of business this government says it wants to see prosper… yet the current beer taxation regime is killing off our main route to market - the British pub."

Related topics: Legislation

Property of the week

The Lower Chequer

- Tenancy

The Lower Chequer is tucked down Crown Bank in the quaint town of Sandbach, a thriving market town most well-known for its ancient Saxon Crosses...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more

Headlines