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UK near top of Euro duty league

Published:  02 June, 2009

The UK and Ireland remain near the top of the European alcohol duty league, according to new figures.

The UK sits third behind Ireland and Finland, paying a total of 45.89 pence per pint, according to the latest research from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

Ireland and Finland are the only states that impose a higher duty rate with a whopping 51.9 pence and 61.74 pence paid respectively in the countries.

British beer drinkers pay over nine times the rate of duty as their German counterparts and seven times as much as the French.

They also 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.

Last year the UK figure was 42.5 pence per pint. In 2007 this figure was 39 pence.

The figures, compiled by the Axe the Beer Tax, Save the Pub campaign, are released as the UK and the rest of the EU prepares to hold elections to the European Parliament.

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.

David Long, the BBPA's chief executive, said: "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."

More than 70,000 people have joined or supported the campaign, including more than 200 MPs.