Beer makers call for tax freeze

Beer manufacturers are pleading with the federal government to cut tax on beer ahead of a scheduled rise in August.

The industry is urging Treasurer Wayne Swan to freeze exice in next month's federal budget, news.com.au reports.

Despite households increasingly tightening their belts and spending less on alcohol, beer tax is due to rise in August, adding 1c to a 285ml glass of beer at bars and 20c to 30c to the cost of a case, while putting an extra $35m in the government's pocket over the next six months.

According to Carlton & United Breweries, tax now makes up more than half of the $37 cost of a case of its iconic VB beer.

The brewery is asking for Swan to take lead from the UK, where beer tax has been cut for the first time in 54 years.

CUB corporate affairs director, Jeremy Griffith, said Australia is paying significantly more in beer tax than other countries.

"All we are asking for is a freeze to provide relief for Australian beer drinkers," he said.

To prove his point, Griffith compared the $32 that Australia pays in beer tax for one litre of pure alcohol, compared with $2 in California, $3 in Germany, $6 in Canada, $10 in Greece and $28 in the UK.


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