UK: New figures show UK near top of EU beer tax league

01 June, 2009

UK: Britons pay nine times more beer duty than German drinkers and seven times more than the French. According to new figures on EU tax rates from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Finland and Ireland impose the highest excise duty rates across the 27 EU countries, with Britain next in line. 


British beer lovers pay more in duty on a single UK pint, than the combined duty on five pints from each of the five other largest member states (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland).

The figures, compiled by the Axe the Beer Tax, Save the Pub campaign, are released 10 days before the UK and the rest of the EU holds elections to the European Parliament between 4 and 7 June.

The campaign – launched by the British Beer & Pub Association and the Campaign for Real Ale at the end of last year – is calling on the Government to reduce tax on beer, with six pubs closing every day.  More than 70,000 people have joined or supported the campaign, including over 200 MPs.

Alcohol duty was increased by 2 per cent above inflation in the Budget last month following a massive 18 per cent increase in 2008.  This year’s Budget increase is being debated in Parliament as part of the Finance Bill.

BBPA chief executive David Long said: “These figures show that British beer drinkers are being taxed at rates far in excess of most of their European counterparts.

“The result is that pub closures are now running at six a day, with thousands of jobs being lost in the British beer and pub industry. A great British institution is under serious threat and yet the Government appears to be determined to ignore concerns expressed by consumers, the industry and politicians of all parties.”

“With elections to the European Parliament taking place next week, beer lovers will note the extent to which they are being taxed above and beyond other consumers in the rest of the EU.

“We hope that those MEPs elected as a result of these elections will stand up for British beer lovers and the great British pub.”


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