UK Chancellor Gordon Brown’s new budget includes index-linked increases to duty on beer, cider and wine.
Britain’s brewers, pub owners and beer drinkers quickly mounted protests.
“This is a slap in the face for one of Britain’s world beating businesses,” said Mark Hastings, British Beer and Pub Association director of communications. “Gordon Brown has chosen to turn his back on a brewing sector facing intense pressure from rapid cost inflation and the forthcoming smoking ban. Once again, the Chancellor has battered beer and favored stronger alcoholic drinks like spirits.”
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) slammed the increase as “false economy.”
CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: “This is a false economy for the Government as we may now see an exodus from pubs after beer prices rise.
“This is bad news for the millions of people who enjoy British pubs but will now face a higher cost to visit them. Therefore trips to the pub will become less frequent and the revenue the Government makes from VAT will suffer.”