Around 30,000 new jobs would be created if the government gave beer a fair deal in the alcohol duty system, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said today.
New research, undertaken by Oxford Economics for the BBPA, shows that the current tax system is discouraging the consumption of low-strength drinks such as beer – with lower tax revenues and fewer jobs the result.
The BBPA is calling for the Government, which is currently reviewing the alcohol tax system, to move the UK towards a ‘more balanced’ duty system in line with neighbouring countries.
The industry claims that the current UK tax regime penalises beer, which is both low-strength and overwhelmingly UK produced. The result is that alcohol in the form of beer costs 42p per unit on average compared to 37p for vodka, 38p for gin and 33p for cider.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “The new Government now has a great opportunity to bring fairness to our duty system – with huge potential benefits for the Treasury and the UK economy.”
“A fair deal for beer would create a win-win situation for all. Beer is unique among the main categories of drink, with Britain’s pubs dependent on beer sales. Over 90 per cent of beer consumed here is brewed here”
Oxford Economics estimated that 29,500 jobs would be created mostly in pubs and the wider hospitality sector, if the duty system was rebalanced between different types of drinks. This, it claimed would also bring in around £250 million in extra revenues, from employment taxes and corporation tax, as well as saving the government money in unemployment payments.
Simmonds added: “We’ve had many years of duty changes that have favoured other categories of drink – yet taxing beer fairly would create thousands of new jobs, and substantial extra revenues. Beer is also a low alcohol drink of choice and should be treated differently to other stronger alcoholic beverages.
“There is potential for a huge success story that could be grasped by the new Government. Everyone would benefit from a new and fair approach.”