Beer duty was frozen in this week's budget, despite a petition signed by North Wiltshire MP James Gray calling for beer tax to be cut.

The MP pledged support for the Long Live The Local Campaign to help pubs in north Wiltshire keep their doors open. He joined more than 100,000 people who signed the petition.

With £1 in every £3 spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40 per cent of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12 per cent of the beer. Brewing and pubs in north Wiltshire support 1284 jobs and contribute £29.6m to the local economy. Before the budget announcement, Mr Gray said:

“Pubs are at the heart of communities across North Wiltshire, but with three British pubs closing their doors for good every day the Government should consider a cut to beer tax."

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Beer duty has increased by 60 per cent over the last 17 years and now the UK has one of the highest rates of tax in Europe.

"When over two thirds of all alcoholic drinks purchased in the pub are beers, a cut in beer tax would go a long way to protecting pubs across North Wiltshire. "