Representatives of the UK beer and pub trade have met with Treasury minister Angela Eagle to discuss the industry's plight.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) set up this week's meeting to talk exclusively about the recent 8% duty tax rise on beer, announced by the government in its pre-Budget report last month.

Further meetings with other government representatives, including business secretary Lord Mandelson, are also scheduled.

A BBPA spokesperson told just-drinks today (17 December): "We made very clear to Angela Eagle the huge strength of feeling in the industry around current government tax policy."

He added: "We pressed the need for the government to abandon the tax escalator, as well as our concerns about the illogicality of the subsequent tax cut for spirits."

Chancellor Alistair Darling u-turned on an announced 8% duty rise for spirits, following the pre-Budget report, but the rise for wine and beer remains in place.

Beer sales are at their lowest since the 1930s and five pubs are closing down every day on average, according to BBPA figures.