The British Beer and Pub association (BBPA) has reiterated its case for the beer duty escalator to be scrapped, saying the move would avoid the loss of 16,000 jobs by 2015. In its submission ahead of the Budget on 21 March, the group said the Government is “shooting itself in the foot” by keeping the escalator, which sees duty rise 2% above inflation each year. A continuation of the policy would mean beer tax hikes would reach 42% since the Budget of March 2008, when the escalator was introduced. The submission points out that duty and VAT combined now account for £1.05 per pint, and Britain’s duty level is 12 times that of Germany. The UK pays 40% of the entire EU duty bill, despite drinking just 13% of the beer. The BBPA linked the tax burden to a drop in beer sales - sales fell 3.4% in 2011 - and the continuation of pub closures, which currently stand at 16 per week. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “We are facing a further, punitive tax rise of over 5% in the Budget – so action is needed now. We need policies that support pubs, and to put an end to these totally unsustainable tax rises. “We need a tax policy that creates vital jobs for young people, at a time when this should be the Government’s top priority.”