Big Brewer Slams 40% Beer Tax Rise
The world's second biggest brewing company, London-listed SABMiller, has slammed soaring UK beer duty taxes.
As it announced a 12% rise in half-year profits to £1.72bn, the firm behind the Foster's and Peroni brands hit out at a near 40% rise in tax endured by drinkers over the past four years.
It has been claimed that the beer duty escalator, which raises the tax annually by 2% above inflation, has added 47p to an average pint since it was introduced by the Labour government in 2008.
The policy has been bitterly criticised by fellow brewers and the pub industry, which continues to suffer from closures due to the consumer spending squeeze.
According to the British Beer & Pub Association, pub beer sales declined by almost 5% - more than 50 million pints - between July and September.
An angry e-petition response to the tax from drinkers has already prompted a Parliamentary debate.
Gary Haigh, the UK boss of SAB, was quoted in The Sun newspaper on Thursday as saying that duty rises were the "crime of the century".
Chief Financial Officer Jamie Wilson told Sky News: "It's very important that Governments look at the effect of excise across the business as a whole and decide whether it is an equitable way to tax beer across all different alcohol categories.
"Taxing beer more and more tends to be counter-productive in terms of a revenue-raising policy because if you start reducing the volume of beer that is then being drunk then clearly you're not making any more money by putting the taxes up.
"It's a factor in our business - we have been successful because of the strength of our brand in attracting consumers in drinking our products but clearly if we had a different pricing policy then perhaps we would be able to do even better."
A Treasury spokesperson told Sky News in response: "Pubs make a vital contribution to the economy and local communities. Cutting employers' National Insurance Contributions will make it cheaper for pubs to employ people, and they'll benefit from a holiday on business rates.
"Though we are working hard to get down the deficit, the Government has not made any changes beyond what was inherited from the 2008 Budget."
In its results, SAB said its acquisition of Australian brewer Foster's and strong growth in Latin America helped boost profits against a backdrop of a 10% fall in earnings in Europe.
The company raised its interim dividend by 12% but said it was cautious on its prospects for the second half of the year, in part due to tough economic conditions in some of its markets.
Despite the warning, its share price rose 6% in morning trade.
what do you think?
Beer sales declined by almost 5% between July and September, pubs are closing at the rate of 1 a day, petrol sales are declining and politicians wonder why. TAX, TAX & MORE TAX you thickheads. And all along reduced sales equals reduced revenues. How come the logic used for the reduction in the 50% income, tax rate, tax less collect more, dosen't apply to beer & fuel ?? Someone needs a lesson in cause & effect here and it ain't me
This country is a joke
Basic arithmetic is beyond these posers, Dave. They're ''clearly'' only capable of cattle-poo terminology. Have you noticed how we now either ''ring-fence'' something considered to urgent, or ''kick it into the long grass'' if it isn't ?
Added to Dave H's well perceived observations, the cost pressures are making pub companies hire cheaper 'managers' - usually young kids fresh out of uni having been told for the last 10 years that they are wonderful and the sun shines form their souls and are absolutely useless - who havnt got a clue about being 'Landlords'. Our local has a young lad who thinks running a pub invloves sitting at the end of the bar preening himself and using his mobile constantly like a 15 year old schoolgirl. The bar is occassionally 5 deep but this isn't enough to drag him away from his mobile and help his staff - not a clue! The pub is now usually deserted. Sad really. (I do hope he reads this- he knows who he is because I've told him as much!)
That's rip of Britain for you tax tax tax tax they just want you to work till you drop
Vandalism, rowdyism drink driving -- the problems of modern Britain, why ? Well it couldn`t be that we have a generation not knowing the meaning of the word discipline, could it ? The young set must be allowed to express themselves and we can`t have punishment in a modern liberal society, can we ? So !!! the Lib/Lab/Cons decide that we blame all wrong doing on alcohol and try to price it out of peoples reach. Well, that is bound to bring about a big reduction in crime just like it did in the USA in the 1920s & 30s
Agreed Edgar, dicipline begins at home, or should do. But no, let's hammer the responsible drinker. Don't clobber the hooligans, they're misunderstood, nothing to do, broken homes, bless their little cotton socks !
....meant to say ''discipline'' !
And how much has the brewing companys also put on ??? 12% rise in the first 6 mths
Robin. Usually the breweries add a couple of pence on at the same as the duty goes up but blame all of the increase on the chancellor
The company (SABMiller) raised its interim dividend by 12% but said it was cautious on its prospects for the second half of the year, in part due to tough economic conditions in some of its markets.Despite the warning, its share price rose 6% in morning trade. THE RUTHLESS PURSUIT OF PROFIT
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