The latest BBPA Quarterly Beer Barometer revealed that the equivalent of 488,000 fewer pints are being sold in Britain’s pubs every day. In contrast, supermarkets and off-licences reported a 1.6 per cent growth for the same period.
The pub industry is battling the perfect storm of recent rises in beer tax and VAT, combined with below-cost supermarket promotions and the failure of national pub companies to support licensees. Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, believes pubs are being neglected, which is costing the UK economy.
“We’ve seen beer tax rise by 35 per cent since March 2008, with Britons now paying an astonishing 40 per cent of all the beer taxes collected in the entire European Union,” said Simmonds. “This is still shutting pubs and costing jobs, in a sector that could create growth in the economy.
“It is good to see some growth in the beer market overall, and we are seeing some new pubs opening, with successful operators innovating, and broadening their offer to consumers. However, there is no doubt that pubs continue to bear the brunt of Britain’s punitive tax policies on beer.”
BigHospitality has kept close check on the on-going problems facing the UK pub industry. Last month, figures from the Campaign of Real Ale (Camra) revealed that pubs are closing at a startling rate of two every day across Britain. And, just last week, Greg Mulholland MP spoke of how larger pub companies are ‘stifling’ the market by behaving in an irresponsible manner not dissimilar to the country’s banks.
But Simmonds believes now is the time that something must be done by the Government.
“We know that given the right tax and regulatory environment we can grow the sector, hiring more staff, adding to the nation’s wealth and maintaining our proud pub heritage,” she said. “We certainly don’t need the further beer tax rises the Government is planning under a misguided tax escalator policy.
"Instead, we want to welcome everyone to support their local pub and play their part in their local community.”