Bad weather and taxes take their toll on beer sales

24 July 2012 by
Bad weather and taxes take their toll on beer sales

The Jubilee weekend and Euro 2012 football were not enough to bolster beer sales in the second quarter of the year, as poor weather and increased beer duty took their toll.

New figures from the British Beer and Pub Association's (BBPA) quarterly Beer Barometer showed that beer sales were down 5.3% in both the pub and the high street, despite strong sales during the Jubilee and at the end of the quarter. On trade sales were down 4.6% and off trade sales fell 5.9%.

The BBPA said that the sales drop meant the beer tax increase brought the Chancellor no extra revenues.

Its chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, has branded recent claims from Minister Chloe Smith that the policy to increase beer duty by 2% above inflation every year was helping to tackle the deficit as "misguided".

The BBPA said UK beer sales have fallen by 15% since the policy was introduced in March 2008, with beer duty up by 42% over the same period. The BBPA and Oxford Economics said they believed the decision will cost some 5,000 jobs in 2012/13.

A Government e-petition demanding an end to these punitive tax rises has already attracted over 68,000 signatures, and is racing towards the 100,000 needed to trigger a Parliamentary debate on the issue.

Simmonds said: "The Chancellor can't change the weather, but he can stop the misguided beer tax hikes that are damaging the sector and doing virtually nothing to help tackle the deficit. The very marginal rise in beer duty revenues the Government is achieving is being all but wiped out by a fall in income from employment and other taxes.

"There is growing public concern over its effect on brewing, pubs and jobs, and we do need urgent action."

By Neil Gerrard

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