Beer industry delivers ‘message in a barrel’ to chancellor

Beer industry leaders were joined by 60 Members of Parliament in delivering a “message in a barrel” to the chancellor, ahead of his Budget on 20 March.

Brigid Simmonds barrel at TreasuryRepresentatives from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and the Campaign for Real Ale delivered the Theakston’s oak barrel to the Treasury on Wednesday.

The barrel was sited for the day at the House of Commons, enabling MPs to post their own message to the Treasury ahead of Budget, calling for a freeze in beer duty.

Brigid Simmonds chief executive of the BBPA, who organised the event said: “I want to thank so many MPs for championing beer and pubs in their constituency. Beer Tax hikes are not raising more revenues for the Government, and with a duty freeze we can create many more jobs.”

Posting the SIBA message, chairman Keith Bott said: “The 652 Brewing members of SIBA are crying out for a fair duty system.

“Beer tax will have risen by 50% in the last five years, assuming the duty escalator stays in place after next month’s Budget. This is hugely damaging to pubs and the local economies they support, which include the independent brewers who supply them with quality craft beers.

Bott’s message to the Chancellor ended with a plea to “make this Budget one that can be applauded by the beer and pub industry and widely welcomed by Britain’s pubgoers.”

Beer duty was increased by 5% in the March 2012 Budget and the total increase in beer duty since March 2008 stands at 42%. The Government’s beer tax escalator, which was introduced by former chancellor Alistair Darling, means increases of 2% above inflation until 2014/15.

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