Quarterly figures show sharp drop in beer sales
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Quarterly figures show sharp drop in beer sales

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New figures released by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have shown a dramatic fall in beer sales.

Between April and June this year, beer sales fell by 4.5 per cent, with revenue in pubs down over 10 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The BBPA, which represents nearly two thirds of Britain's 57,000 pubs, published the figures in the first UK Quarterly Beer Barometer which was launched today. It shows a total fall of 107m pints sold, compared with the same period in 2007.

Chief executive of the BBPA, Rob Hayward, said that the figures are of concern not just to the pub industry. He said: "Beer sales are on the slide and the tax increase in the Budget has made it worse. With around one million jobs reliant on the trade, the loss of 1.6m pints a day is having a serious impact, not just on the sector itself, but on the UK economy as a whole.

Beer sales are now at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s - down seven million pints a day from the height of the market in 1979."

March's budget saw a hike on beer duty by almost 10 per cent, with an escalator set to further rise alcohol duties at 2 per cent above the rate of inflation in each of the next four years. It has led Hayward to call for a change in thinking from the government.

"We need a change of approach from the government," he said. "Yet with further duty increases planned, the Treasury continues to see the brewing industry as a 'cash cow' to be milked in future budgets. These falling tax revenues show that it's time for a rethink."

The figures have come amidst a claim from Chris Allinson, a spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), who said the BBPA's decision last month to withdraw a voluntary code on banning cheap drinks promotion was irresponsible.

A spokesperson from the BBPA refuted the comment, saying that ACPO got the wrong end of the stick of a piece in The Guardian yesterday. It said the move was taken following a government memo that warned against encouraging self-regulation, as any such moves could lead to a breach of EU competition laws.

"The code was withdrawn until it was clear there weren't any issues with competition laws. There was no other reason at all," said the BBPA.

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New figures released by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have shown a dramatic fall in beer sales. Between April and June this year, beer sales fell by 4.5 per cent.
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