The Government will net more than £337million in beer duty this December, despite 85% of pubs unable to open their doors due to lockdown restrictions.
The staggering sum for December alone is more than the entire annual duty bill in 19 other European countries, according to analysis by campaign group Long Live The Local.
The research highlights the level of UK beer duty in comparison to most other countries in Europe.
British beer drinkers pay more than 54p in duty on every pint they enjoy. While in Spain and Germany the beer duty rates amount to just 5p per pint – which means the UK pays 11 times more. Only Finland and Ireland pay higher rates.
In December, UK drinkers paid an eye-watering £401million in beer duty, but the British Beer and Pub Association estimates that the impact of Covid-19 will reduce sales by 16% for the same month this year.
It hits an industry already at breaking point after a challenging year of lockdown closures and severe trading restrictions.
Long Live The Local campaigners are calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to cut beer duty in the March Budget to help pubs and brewers recover from a year that has forced thousands of hospitality outlets to close.
Andy Slee, Chairman of Black Sheep Brewery in Masham said: “40% of our brewery turnover is paid to the Government in beer duty alone.
“Brewing is a British manufacturing success story but Covid 19 has hit beer sales hard.
“We need Government support to help us bounce back and lead the much-needed economic recovery next year.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mirror.co.uk%2Fmoney%2Fgovernment-pocket-337million-beer-tax-23210307%3F4%3D&cre=bottom&cip=17&view=web
“A beer duty cut would help Black Sheep make investments to respond to the post Covid world and in doing so help create and protect vital British jobs.”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “We need the UK Government to help our great domestic brewing and pub sector just as Governments in Europe support their precious brewing and hospitality sectors.
“The Budget in Spring next year provides an excellent opportunity for our Government to show their support for the 2,000 breweries and 47,000 pubs in the UK. A significant cut in Beer Duty will go some way in helping them recover from a disastrous 2020.”
In March 2020, the Chancellor froze Beer Duty, in response to more than 256,000 people who signed the petition to cut Beer Duty. More than 130,000 of these wrote directly to their MPs asking them to support a cut.
With the threat of further increases in beer duty in the Budget in Spring 2021, more than 90,000 people have signed a new petition and almost 70,000 have written to their MP calling for a freeze.