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Recent reports have stated that there has been a significant decrease in the sales of Beer in the UK, a trend that is being blamed on higher taxes and VAT. The report by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) states that sales of beer are down by 10% over the three months at the beginning of the British summer compared to the same period last year.

The cost of beer has also increased on average by 10p in the last year, a statistic being blamed on the increased beer duty rate of 7.2%. It was thought that the royal wedding and a rather hopeful prediction of warm weather would boost beer sales, but compared to last year, when the football world cup was taking place, the amount of beer sales is still down by the largest quarterly amount since 1997.

The place hit hardest is the supermarket, with sales of beer in the leading chains down by a massive 15%, whereas pub sales are down by 4.2%.

Brigid Simmonds, a spokeswoman for the BBPA, said that ‘Beer sales are a barometer of Britain’s economic confidence’ and that whilst the Royal wedding was a welcome boost, ‘beer tax rises are now hitting our brewers hard and undermining recovery’.

The BBPA had previously warned government officials that tax rises would hinder growth and job opportunities in the sector, and Simmonds reiterated the association’s belief that ‘Taxing beer fairly would create thousands of new jobs and substantial extra tax revenues at a time when we are all looking for private-sector led recovery’.

The news is enough to make many want a stiff drink, but with the average price of a pint in a pub now £3.05, compared to £2.41 in 2008, many may have to think twice before ordering

By Sean Dudley

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