The UKs Budget next week will automatically increase beer taxes

The UK's Budget next week will automatically increase beer taxes

UK brewers have made a “strong case” for an end to the beer duty escalator system, the minister for UK pubs has told just-drinks.

But, Conservative MP Brandon Lewis has warned that the industry will have to wait for next week's budget to see the Government's plans for the controversial duty hike. “The Treasury is in a tough position at the moment,” Lewis said today (15 March) on the sidelines of BeerX in Sheffield. “The country is carrying a major deficit, but the industry has made a strong case.”

Under the escalator system, duty is automatically raised 2% above inflation, currently until 2014/15. A further minimum 2% hike is due to take effect in Wednesday's Budget.

A major industry campaign against the measure has so far failed to change the Government’s stance on the issue. 

Lewis also said that local brewing is a “good news” story for the UK as it is creating jobs, particularly for under-25s.

BeerX is organised by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and will run until tomorrow.