CAMRA calls for freeze on taxes after 4% increase in 2005

An English consumer group has called for a freeze on beer taxes after finding the price of an average pint increased 4% in 2005.

The Campaign for Real Ale's annual price survey shows that the average price of real ale rose from 215p to 224p (almost $4 American), while the average price of lager climbed from 236p to 245p.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said his organization has urged on Chancellor Gordon Brown to make a freeze or cut in excise duty on beer and cider in the 2006 budget.

"Even the smallest increase in tax will blast a hole through the pocket of the pub-visiting public," Benner said. "Last year the Chancellor increased beer duty by only a penny - however as our survey proves the cost passed on to consumers has been considerably higher."

The survey found the cheapest region for beer is the northwest, where a pint of real ale costs 197p. The most expensive regions were London and the southeast, where a pint of real ale costs 242p.