Beer tax boost rapped

British groups say chancellor's plan 'favors Australian chardonnay'

Mar 17, 2005 - British brewers and drinkers are united in criticizing Chancellor Gordon Brown's call for a 1p tax hike on beer.


The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) both issued statements assiling the increase, part of the chancellor's budget package.

Mark Hastings, the BBPA's communications director, said Brown was continuing a tax strategy that "favors imported Australian chardonnay over home-produced British beer.

"In recent years, there has been a surge in wine drinking and the strength of wine we drink. Yet while stronger beer is taxed more than weaker beer, stronger wine is taxed the same as weaker wine," he said.

CAMRA has been pressing for a freeze, or even a drop, in beer duty to tackle the price differential between UK beer and foreign imports. "A tax rise is a flawed strategy which will cost jobs, increase smuggling and uncontrolled drinking and leave responsible beer drinkers out of pocket," said CAMRA chief executive Mike Benner.

"Some pubs will now be charging as much as 10 pence a pint more than they were only a month ago."

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