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Heavy rain and tax hike blamed for 4.6% drop in pub beer sales

By Emma Eversham , 24-Jul-2012
Last updated on 24-Jul-2012 at 17:39 GMT

The heavy rain over the last three months coupled with the Chancellor's March tax hike are being blamed for a 4.6 per cent drop in beer sales in pubs during the second quarter of 2012. 

According to the British Beer and Pub Association's (BBPA) latest Beer Barometer, the uplift in trade from events such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Euro 2012 failed to bring about a positive figure for the nation's pubs between April and June.

Last week the Coffer Peach Business Tracker showed that the eating and drinking-out sector had been affected by the unseasonably wet weather in June with figures rising just 1.3 per cent and Fuller's saw sales drop 1 per cent between April and July. 

With the drop in beer sales, the BBPA said the 5 per cent duty rise brought in following the Budget in March was effectively bringing in no extra revenue for the Government, yet was hurting business.

It noted that beer sales have dropped 15 per cent since the duty escalator was introduced in 2008 and estimates the move will lead to the loss of 5,000 jobs across the industry by 2013.

'Misguided' 

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said recent claims from Treasury Minister Chloe Smith that the policy was helping to tackle the deficit were 'misguided' 

 “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," she said.

"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.”

Beer sales in the off-trade were also hit by the weather and increasing prices with sales dropping 5.9 per cent for the period.

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