UK beer drinkers pay more than nine times the rate of duty tax as German consumers and seven times as much as the French, according to new research.

A study on tax rates across the European Union, commissioned by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and out today (1 June), shows that Finland and Ireland are the only countries in the EU 27 to impose higher excise duty rates on beer than the UK.

UK beer drinkers pay more in duty on a single UK pint than the combined duty on five pints from each of the five other largest member states (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland), the BBPA said.

The figures, compiled by the 'Axe the Beer Tax, Save the Pub' campaign, are released ten days before the UK and the rest of the EU holds elections to the European Parliament between 4 and 7 June.

The campaign - launched by the BBPA and the Campaign for Real Ale at the end of last year - is calling on the Government to reduce tax on beer, with six pubs closing every day. More than 70,000 people have joined or supported the campaign, including over 200 MPs.

David Long, BBPA's chief executive, said the figures show that UK beer drinkers are being taxed at rates "far in excess" of most of their European counterparts.

"The result is that pub closures are now running at six a day, with thousands of jobs being lost in the British beer and pub industry," Long said.

Alcohol duty was increased by 2% above inflation in the Budget last month following an 18% increase in 2008. This year's Budget increase is being debated in Parliament as part of the Finance Bill.

In April the BBPA reported that UK beer sales had fallen by 8% in the first quarter of 2009, the biggest quarterly fall for more than a decade. Off-trade beer sales were hit particularly hard in the first three months of the year, down 11% compared to the same period of 2008.