Sales of beer in Britain’s pubs suffered a worrying 3.6% drop in the third quarter, the worst Q3 performance for five years. The news has prompted urgent calls for a halt to yet more beer tax rises in the Budget on 22nd November. The figures are released today in the Quarterly ‘Beer Barometer’, from the British Beer & Pub Association.
The 3.6% drop in on-trade sales from July to September, represents an astonishing 35 million fewer pints sold in Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants. when compared with the same period in 2016. Beer sales have been hit by a substantial 3.9 per cent tax rise in the March Budget, yet the Chancellor plans yet another increase in his second Budget, in November.
Coupled with pressure from sky-high business rates, the move would see many more pubs closing, says Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, who is instead calling for a one penny cut in duty in the Budget:
Brigid Simmonds comments: “When the Government was cutting or freezing beer duty from 2013-15, sales of British beer stabilised, after years of steep decline. With sales down this quarter, following the Budget tax hike, urgent action from the Chancellor is needed.
“Beer has had a 39 per cent tax rise in the past decade. With tax rates 14 times higher than in Germany, these levels are unsustainable.
“We need fair taxes for British beer, so that brewers and pub operators can invest in thriving pubs, and take advantage of new opportunities to export more beer around the world as we leave the EU.”