Business

UK beer sales up but remain 'fragile'

A pint of beer being poured Image copyright PA

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) says beer sales are showing improvement after a decade of decline, but that the situation is "fragile".

UK beer sales increased by 1.5% over the past year, but fell by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014.

The BBPA said "huge tax rises were the major culprit" for the 24% decline in beer sales over the past nine years.

In March, the government announced a 1p cut in beer tax for the third year.

The BBPA said the cut in duties secured 16,000 jobs in the brewing industry and "helped to stabilise the sector", highlighting the need for continuity from the Treasury in its tax policy for beer.

Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "We need the right tax policies so we can continue to boost jobs and create investment in an industry that employs 900,000 people and is worth £22bn to our economy."

The association said there had been a "devastating beer duty hike" of 42% from 2008 to 2013, leading to the loss of 58,000 jobs and the closure of 7,000 pubs.

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