President Hollande to push through legislation to fund social programmes – but brewers condemn plan as ‘kick in teeth’
– French brewers hit by 160% rise in beer tax (Guardian, Oct 30, 2012):
The French president, François Hollande, is pushing through legislation to increase taxes on beer by 160% to help fund social programmes, as France struggles to contain a budget deficit hit hard by the economic crisis.
The tax increase will affect local brews and the 30% of imported beer the French drink. The change will push up the price of a beer by about 20% in bars and supermarkets, said Jacqueline Lariven, spokeswoman for the French brewer’s federation, Brasseurs de France.
The Brewers of Europe trade group described the measure as a “kick in the teeth”, as it follows a 6% fall in beer production and an 8% drop in consumption in the EU since the region’s debt crisis began in 2008.
Outside France, Belgium and Germany were likely to be hardest hit by the new legislation, said Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, head of the Brewers of Europe.
“This measure will affect all brewers, including small entrepreneurs,” he said. “This is a very shortsighted approach by penalising one sector.”
President Hollande said he hoped to raise €480m (£300m) from the tax increase on beer to boost medical insurance and elderly care.