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Story of Beer Duty published

beer-duty2The BBPA has today published ‘The Story of Beer Duty: 2008-2016’, detailing how the Government’s decision to abolish the Beer Duty Escalator helped to spark a major turnaround in the fortunes of the beer and pub sector.

The report, published in partnership with SIBA and CAMRA, articulates the two different approaches to beer duty between 2008 and 2016.

It outlines the damage caused by the Beer Duty Escalator, which saw beer duty increase by 42 per cent between 2008 and 2012. During this time, beer sales fell by a staggering 18.5 per cent, 3,700 pubs closed and 75,000 jobs were lost.

The abolition of the escalator in 2013, after years of campaigning by the BBPA and the wider industry, coupled with a ‘penny off a pint’ led to a major turnaround in the beer and pub sector. Beer sales have stabilised, with 2014 seeing the first year of beer sales growth in a decade.

As the report details, beer makes up nearly seven in every ten drinks sold in pubs. The reversal of falling beer sales has also generated investment in pub estates and breweries. More than £1 billion is being invested annually by brewers and pub owners, both in state-of-the-art brewing technology and refurbishments of Britain’s much-loved pubs. The report presents several case studies that demonstrate the industry’s commitment to investment.

Today, the beer and pub sector supports almost 900,000 jobs across the country, from farmers, to brewery technicians, and head chefs in pubs. One in thirteen young people currently working in Britain are employed in the beer and pub sector.

Across Britain, 30 million people visit Britain’s pubs each month, with over 15 million people drinking beer. Going to the pub is third on the list of things to do for overseas visitors to Britain and seven out of ten visit a pub whilst they are here.

The BBPA argues that it is now more important than ever that the Government continues to act to protect British beer and pubs; the BBPA has also recently published a manifesto, setting out how the beer and pub sector can continue to be a force for growth and job creation, as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

Brigid Simmonds, BPBA Chief Executive, comments: “The Story of Beer Duty report shows us that ‘a penny off a pint’ in 2013 was much more than a good headline or political gimmick. The effects of the removal of the Beer Duty Escalator have been extraordinary, and I am proud that the BBPA, alongside SIBA and CAMRA, played such a key role in its abolition.

“We will continue to work with Government as the process of leaving the European Union begins. Given that we still pay 40 per cent of the total beer tax bill in Europe, but only consume 13 per cent of the product, it is vital that there are no increases in beer duty. It is also vital that Britain’s beer and pubs are protected, so that the sector can continue to be a powerful source of growth and jobs.”

Mike Benner, SIBA Managing Director, adds: “SIBA is proud to have played a central role alongside the BBPA and CAMRA in the scrapping of the Beer Duty Escalator. This, along with subsequent duty cuts, has had a hugely positive effect on the beer industry by keeping prices affordable for consumers and encouraging investment into independent craft breweries, and it is essential that support for this great British industry continues.”

Colin Valentine, CAMRA National Chairman said: “It is clear that reductions in beer tax have had an immensely positive impact on the industry, and helped keep the price of a pint affordable for consumers.

“A report commissioned by CAMRA found that three consecutive cuts in beer duty and the abolition of the beer duty escalator have helped stem the number of pub closures and supported more than 26,000 additional jobs. Any future hikes in beer duty would curb the good work the Government has done to support pubs, and drive people to drink at home rather than in their local pub”.