Beer tax breaks

Beer duty frozen in Britain; smallest breweries to get additional cuts

Apr 17, 2002 - Britain's beer drinkers and smallest breweries offered praise Wednesday after Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that overall beer taxes were frozen for the year and that smaller breweries would qualify for a tax break.


"This is excellent news and we're very pleased that the Chancellor has responded positively after twenty years of campaigning," said Mike Benner, CAMRA's head of campaigns. "This will help even out the playing field for Britain's 350 small brewing companies which will promote competition and increase consumer choice."

Brown said that the government would cut in half the duty microbrewers producing real ale will pay, which is "equal to 14p off each pint."

Benner questioned whether that savings would be passed on to the consumer. "Microbreweries will use the money to compete with the bigger breweries on marketing and distribution and it could lead to increased staffing which will help the local economy as a whole," he said.

Rob Hayward, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association praised the tax freeze. "This goes some way to answering the industry's concerns. It is a sign that the Government has started to listen to the industry's arguments about the economic and social problems caused by high beer taxes," he said.

"However, it is still the case that every time you buy a pint, the Government takes a third in tax.

Consumers in the UK pay one of the highest beer tax rates in Europe. High beer taxes discourage people from having a pint in the British pub and encourage them to buy beer in France," he added.

The tax measures will be implemented by this summer - in time for the World Cup, he said.

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