More than 40,000 jobs in the UK pub and brewing industry are at risk, according to a new report from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). The report, which examines economic trends in the beer and pub sector, says that 44,000 jobs have been lost in the past five years and predicts a further 43,000 will go in the next five years. Entitled A Wake-up For Westminster, the research states that the sector was experiencing “one of the most severe and sustained periods of pressure on record”. The BBPA said that effects of longer term socio-economic trends had been dramatically sharpened by the current economic downturn and exacerbated by government tax and regulatory policy, which had “severely constrained the flexibility of the sector to adapt to change”. Against a backdrop of falling beer sales – volumes in the on-trade are at their lowest since the 1930s and down eight million pints a day since 1979 – the BBPA heavily criticised plans to increase beer taxes by a third over the next four years. Rob Hayward, BBPA chief executive, said: “The economy is shrinking, drinking trends are shifting and overall consumption is sinking. “Now is not the time to be introducing policies that will force up prices for all. “When it comes to alcohol misuse, targeting the problem few, rather than penalising all adults would be far more effective and avoid driving more pubs out of business. “The government should abandon its plans for more punitive tax rises on beer, and should concentrate on enforcing existing laws rather than introduce new ones.” The BBPA also questioned plans that will heap additional red tape on the industry, such as a new mandatory code of practice. The report highlighted that pint for pint, beer sales in pubs and clubs create 18 jobs for every three in the off trade. Hayward said: “We need action to support the great British pub as a vital part of local community life. If we don’t have a change of approach, many more communities will be without their much-loved pubs.” The BBPA highlighted recent research suggesting that five pubs were now closing every day.