UK Hop growers have hit back at claims in the national press that a 10p increase in the price of beer has been caused by the high cost of importing hops.

Peter Davies of the National Hop Association of England, representing all 150 English hop growers said': "This has all been badly sexed up." Referring to a broadcast on Radio Four's the Today programme, he said: "I don't know whether the government or the BBC are to blame. Perhaps we need a Public Enquiry? The real truth is that in every £2.04 pint of mainstream lager the government's tax dosier demands a mighty 64.2 pence. In contrast the hop grower receives only a derisory 0.16 of a penny. This leaves the brewer with 31.5pence and the retailer with £108.3 pence.

"So talk of the 10 pence rise I the cost of a pint being attributed to the hops is all froth, designed perhaps to hide other costs in the distribution chain or the high levels of tax charged."

He added: " If, however, brewers really are intending to pay the extra 10p a pint for hops, we look forward to rapidly raising our acreage from the present 4,000 acres back to whatever is needed to make the importation of hops unnecessary."