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Brewers and pubs need support says town’s MP

Thursday 1st November 2012 (Andrew Griffiths)

THE Government collected £3.4 billion in beer tax in Britain last year — more than 1,000 times the £330 million levied on cider.

The figures emerged as MPs, led by Burton’s Andrew Griffiths, were due to debate the beer tax escalator in the House of Commons this afternoon.

HM Revenue and Customs revealed it pocketed £3.42 billion in beer duty last year, up more than £300 million since 2007.

Meanwhile the cider industry contributed £328 million in alcohol duty in 2011.

The difference has been dubbed unfair on brewers, as well as being blamed for Britain’s falling beer consumption and crumbling pub industry.

Mr Griffiths, chairman of the parliamentary beer group, said: “Why is it that a drinker pays 50p a pint more in tax for bitter than for cider?

“This is disadvantaging Britain’s brewers and, as a result, beer sales are plunging.

“We need a transparent tax regime that supports our brewers and pubs.”

The duty escalator, introduced by Labour in 2008 and continued by the Coalition, sees tax increase every year by two per cent plus the rate of inflation.

The system has left Britain paying 40 per cent of all Europe’s beer duty.

Today’s three-hour Commons debate will urge the Treasury to review the alcohol duty escalator before Chancellor George Osborne delivers his 2013 Budget.

Mr Griffiths said: “Recent figures have laid bare just how damaging and unfair the current duty regime is on British beer, compared to other drinks like cider.

“Everybody recognises the important role community pubs play across Britain and it’s time the Government did more to support brewers and publicans.

“Axing the beer duty escalator would prevent pubs closing and support breweries in Burton.”

It is now claimed every beer drinker in the UK forks out £177 a year in duty, compared to just £15 in Spain and Germany.

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