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Beer industry blames low duty on wine for sales plummet

Published:  23 July, 2008

The fall by 19 million pints in British pubs since 1979 is down to high duty on beer compared to other areas such as wine, says the brewing industry.

A rise of 27% beer duty compared to 16% for wine, is one of the major reasons for a plummet in the amount of beer drunk in the UK, according to Rob Hayward, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association.

"We believe the benefits that have been enjoyed by other drinks from a tax freeze should be extended to Britain's national drink - beer."

Hayward is calling for a tax freeze on beer as the current rates are "eroding the foundation of our business".

Scottish & Newcastle UK revealed last week that beer prices are likely to rise ahead of inflation.

Owen Morris, spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale said: "Camra backs demands for a freeze in excise duty on beer, and would go further in calling for a reduction in the level of tax on Britain's national drink in order to bring people back to the pub."