What is a surprise, though, is what the figures show.
In a nutshell, Gordon Brown, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, takes a third of the cost of your pint.
Each day in the UK we buy and consume 27 million pints of beer. So when you do the maths you realise that Mr.Brown
takes 9 million pints a day in tax.
That works out to 3.2 billion pints a year. Enough beer to fill one and a half Domes, just over three Wembley
Stadiums or 21 Royal Albert Halls. A lot of beer.
So that's the percentage figures which were released, but what about in financial terms?
It works out that the Government takes £5 billion a year in tax on beer. Yup, £5 billion. Sort of pales into
significance the £200 million to the NHS that Mr Blair fobs us off with each time we complain about high taxes.
It works out that the Government receives £14 million a day from beer tax.
So why do they receive so much money? The Duty alone in the UK is 34 pence per pint, compared to 5 pence in France
and just 3 pence in both Germany and Spain.
There are approximatly 15 million beer drinkers in the UK, so it figures out that every year each drinker hands over
£228 to Mr.Brown in beer tax.
It's not just the direct financial drain that the high rate of tax causes. Because beer in England is not as cheap as
it is on the Continent, there has evolved a culture of boot-legging. Groups hire a van to go over to France, fill
up the back with crates of beer then return to England and sell them on, under-cutting the shops who loose trade,
which subsequentially hits the Brewers and the farmers. To combat this boot-legging and loss of revenue, the
Government in their infinite wisdom draw more money from the tax payers to pay for extra Customs Officials. Why
they don't just drop the tax and make it unprofitable for boot-leggers is beyond me.
This is just the beer we're on about here, not touching the wines and spirits.
So what can we do about it? The BLRA have organised an e-petition over at
www.blra.co.uk where you can put your name to the campaign to drive down
the tax rate.