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UK beer prices could soar

The cost of a pint of beer in the UK could soar by 13 pence under new laws being discussed this week.

Experts say plans to give stronger licensing powers to local authorities, set to be debated as part of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill in the House of Lords this week, could result in pub licence fees ramping up tenfold, from £200 to £2,000.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers says the shake-up, which could cost the pub trade as much as £100 million a year, risks putting more establishments out of business.

Chief executive Nick Bish said: “Pubs simply cannot afford to absorb these cost hikes so it will inevitably hit customers in the pocket.

“This couldn’t come at a worse time, particularly as supermarkets continue to sell alcohol at ridiculously low prices.”

According to the British Beer and Pub Association, beer sales across the UK fell 3.8% in the first quarter of 2011.

The licensed trade is still reeling after chancellor George Osborne put 10p on a pint in March’s budget, pushing the average price of a pint of lager up to £3.15.

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