Beer duty should be frozen in the next Budget to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs in the pub and brewery trade, including more than 7,000 in the county, says a campaign group.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has called on the Government to freeze beer duty rates after a study revealed it would cost the treasury just £4million but it would protect workers and boost investment.
Across Bedfordshire there are four breweries and 356 pubs which employ 7,024 people, according to the Oxford Economics report commissioned by the BBPA.
Nationally, 900,000 people are employed in the industry, with 46 per cent of those aged between 16 and 24.
The BBPA has submitted an Early Day Motion to Parliament calling for the duty freeze, which it says is among the highest in Europe.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds OBE said: “Beer and pubs provide huge numbers of local jobs, especially for young people. Last year’s duty cut made a real difference, saving jobs across the country, boosting investment and increasing confidence. Yet, so much of this good work will be undone if beer duty rises again. We need a duty freeze in the Budget, and I hope all MPs will make the case for beer, pubs and jobs, and support Early Day Motion 892 in Parliament.”
The BBPA added 82 per cent of the beer sold in Britain is made in Britain, and beer and pubs contribute £22 billion to UK economy, generating £12 billion in total tax revenue.
It also says one job in brewing generates 21 other jobs: one in agriculture, one in the supply chain, one in retailing and 18 in pubs.