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UK: "Misguided" tax hikes blamed as UK beer sales drop in second quarter

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UK beer sales fell about 5% in the second quarter of this year, with poor weather and "misguided" tax hikes being blamed. 

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Despite strong trading around the jubilee weekend and Euro 2012, on-trade sales were down 4.6% year-on-year, while off-trade sales fell 5.9% in the three months to June. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), which published the figures today (24 July), said beer drinkers consumed the equivalent of 115 million fewer pints than in the same period last year.

Brigid Simmonds, the BBPA's chief executive, launched a fresh attack on the government's alcohol duty escalator. “The chancellor can’t change the weather, but he can stop the misguided beer tax hikes that are damaging the sector and doing virtually nothing to help tackle the deficit," she said. 

"The very marginal rise in beer duty revenues the government is achieving is being all but wiped out by a fall in income from employment and other taxes."  

About 68,000 people have so far signed an e-petition calling for an end to the duty escalator, which has seen taxes hiked by 2% above inflation since 2008. The petition requires 100,000 signatures to trigger a parliamentary debate on the issue.


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