Budget 2016: Brewers call on chancellor George Osborne to announce a fourth consecutive cut in beer duty

Lauren Fedor
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Burgeoning Craft Beer Industry Creates Niche Market For Limited Release Beers
A recent YouGov poll found 72 per cent of people support a cut or freeze in beer duty (Source: Getty)

Surprise, surprise: the British brewing industry is calling on chancellor George Osborne to once again cut beer duty in next month's Budget.

If Osborne were to axe the tax on booze on 16 March, it would mark the fourth consecutive annual cut in beer duty.

In a 23-page submission to the Treasury today, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), which represents more than 800 British breweries, said the government should give the independent craft brewing industry "further support to reach its potential" and create more local jobs.

According to SIBA, almost 900,000 jobs are supported by the craft beer industry, including in pubs and the supply chain.

A YouGov poll conducted earlier this month for the British Beer and Pub Association found that early three in four people support either a cut or freeze in beer duty, with just 18 per cent supporting a tax rise.

In its Green Budget earlier this month, the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the current structure of alcohol duties is "not well targeted at harmful alcohol consumption", because heavy drinkers tend to buy stronger alcoholic drinks. The IFS said that putting higher taxes on spirits would "target the system better", and suggested higher levels of duty on cider in particular, pointing out that a litre of 7.5 per cent ABV beer is taxed 138p, while a litre of 7.5 per cent ABV cider is taxed just 39p.

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