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Consumers have vowed to keep up the fight for a fair level of beer duty for Britain's fifteen million drinkers. The announcement from CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, follows the Chancellor's decision to 'freeze' excise duty on beer in this year's Budget.

Mike Benner, Head of Campaigns and Communications said, "Although it's preferable to an increase, this freeze will do nothing to reduce smuggling of cheap Euro fizz which is being sold on to whoever has the cash, including children. Mr. Brown has offered no support for the 900,000 British jobs supported by the beer and pubs industry. Millions of pints will continue to flood our shores and hundreds of British jobs will continue being exported to France."

Over one million pints a day are now being smuggled into Britain by increasingly organised criminal gangs. CAMRA called for a duty cut of only 2 pence in this budget which would have been enough to significantly reduce the bootleggers' profit and make it less desirable. CAMRA has launched a major generic campaign for real British beer and is urging drinkers to 'Ask if it's Cask' next time they visit the pub in an effort to boost sales of real cask ale brewed by Britain's 400 independent brewers.

Mr. Benner added, "Pubs are closing directly as a result of high beer tax. Smuggling and related criminal activity are on the increase and the social problems related with the uncontrolled purchase of alcohol can only get worse. The Chancellor has ignored the evidence that a cut in duty would benefit the industry, consumers and the government within two years." CAMRA will continue to campaign for duty to be reduced to the EU mean level in order to revitalise this important British industry.

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All rights reserved. Last Revised: April 21, 2004
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