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Illicit beer sales jump 40% in UK

Sales of illicit beer in the UK has jumped 40 per cent in the 2009/2010 year and now accounts for 14 per cent of total beer sales there, the UK’s Revenue & Customs has stated.

This would account for some £800 million in lost duty and VAT, it’s reckoned, up from 2008/2009’s figure of £550 million (or 10 per cent of the total) on a diminishing beer market.

The UK government’s ‘duty escalator’ on alcohol which continues to add duty at two per cent above inflation each year is believed to be to blame for consumers seeking cheaper illegal alternatives.

A noticeable rise in illegal spirits sales to an estimated £440 million, up from 2008/2009’s £310 million, indicates that such sales have grown from eight per cent to 11 per cent of the spirits market.

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