Beer sales declined by 78 million fewer pints (around 1%) last year compared to 2015, according to new figures published today by the BBPA (British Beer & Pub Association).
However, the trade body said the decline was set against a background of general sales stability, which it says has been helped by three successive 1p cuts in beer duty between 2013-2015. Beer duty was frozen rather than reduced at last year’s budget. The group is now calling for a further cut at this year’s budget on March 8.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: 'For the budget, the government has currently earmarked a tax rise for beer, but this would begin to undo much of the great work done in recent years, with three duty cuts and a freeze, from 2013.
'Whilst overall, beer sales have stabilised following years of sharp decline under the beer duty escalator, these latest figures show that more action is needed to ease the tax burden on brewers, pubs and pubgoers.
'Beer duty is now 17% lower than it was due to be under the escalator. However, our tax rates are still the third highest in the EU. The chancellor can safeguard pubs, and protect jobs and investment, with a further one penny cut in the budget on 8 March.'