The chancellor's decision to once again raise beer tax signs the "death warrant" for thousands of the UK's pubs and for tens of thousands of British jobs, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) warned this afternoon.
Responding, the BBPA said: "In imposing these additional beer taxes, the Government has wilfully ignored the views of the public, landlords, consumer groups, industry representatives and MPs from all parties who have been calling for action to save the British pub.
"At a time when the rest of the economy is getting a supporting hand, the beer and pub industry is being singled out for punitive action. Last year the Chancellor raised beer tax by an eye-watering 18%. Today's rise is a further body blow. The result will be more pubs closing, more jobs being lost and more people consuming alcohol outside supervised, licensed premises."
Michael Turner, chairman of London brewer and pub operator Fuller, Smith & Turner, added: "We are very disappointed that the chancellor has ignored the industry, his fellow MPs and the public at large by continuing along this Government's path of raising beer duty, regardless of the facts.
"The chancellor already makes 50 times as much out of each pint sold as the Brewer does and this further increase cannot be justified. The British pub is the home of responsible drinking and the envy of the world. It should be cherished not persecuted."
Elsewhere in the Budget, the chancellor said the Government is extending the help which allows loss-making companies to reclaim taxes on profits made in the last three years.
He also revealed that more than 100,000 businesses have taken up the option to defer their tax bills and added that this scheme will continue.
In a boost for businesses, the chancellor said the main capital allowance rate will be doubled to 40%.
By Daniel Thomas
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