Almost two thirds of the public agree that increasing beer tax will lead to more pub closures, according to a new poll by the Axe the Beer Tax, Save the Pub campaign. Plus, nine in ten people believe that, in terms of his overall tax policy, the Chancellor should be seeking to freeze or lower taxes in this week’s Budget. The poll is published the industry warned there were only “48 hours to save the pub” as a result of Government plans to increase beer tax by 2% above inflation for the next four years. This comes after beer tax was increased by 18% in 2008 alone. Earlier polls had shown that 70% of the public and 59% of MPs were opposed to increases in beer tax at a time when six pubs a day are closing. The Axe the Beer Tax, Save the Pub campaign will hold an event with supporters and celebrities at the Red Lion pub in Westminster today. The campaign – jointly sponsored by the Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale - has won 70,000 supporters since it was launched late last year. David Long, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “This poll shows that the public understands the damage that increasing beer tax has on pubs. The Government increased duty by an eye watering 18% last year and pubs are closing at a record rate – at about six a day. “Such closures have a disastrous effect in terms of jobs and the life of communities. And yet the Chancellor is still planning to impose further increases this week. “The proposed tax escalator will increase beer tax by 2% above inflation each year for the next four years. Yet it was proposed 12 months ago when earnings were rising and the economy was strong. Today, earnings are falling and consumption of beer in pubs is at its lowest since the Great Depression. “The budget is just two days away. There are 48 hours to save the pub. Mr Darling must listen to the majority of the public and MPs and recognise that increasing beer tax at this time is wholly unjustified and to do so will be to sign a death warrant for thousands more pubs.” The main findings of the poll, carried out by ComRes last week, were: · 90 per cent believe that, in terms of his overall tax policy, the Chancellor should be seeking to either freeze or lower taxes in the forthcoming Budget. · 64 per cent believe that if he increases beer tax it will put more pressure on pubs and lead to more pub closures · 60 per cent believe that a beer tax increase will lead to more job losses in the brewing and pub sector. · 29 per cent say they would be less likely to go to the pub if beer taxes go up.