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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 March 2006, 08:20 GMT
Cost of a pint 'has risen by 9p'
Woman drinking real ale
The price of a pint is up
Beer lovers want the Chancellor to freeze or cut the duty on beer and cider in the 2006 budget as prices have risen by more than 4% in the past year.

Pints have gone up 9p to an average of 2.24 for real ale and 2.45 for lager, according to a survey of 1,121 pubs by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

The most expensive areas to buy a pint are London and south-east England, with real ale averaging 2.42.

The cheapest is the North West, where real ale costs 1.97 and lager 2.21.

The area with the biggest price rise was the north of England, with real ale up 5.34% to 2.06 a pint and lager up 5.12% to 2.35.

Camra spokesman Iain Loe has told the BBC that any further rises in excise duty would hit the pub-visiting public hard.

"What normally happens is when the Chancellor puts a penny on the pint the poor customer in the pub actually gets a 5p increase because there's so many middle people in between."

Last year Gordon Brown increased beer duty by 1p, but Camera says its survey proves the cost passed on to drinkers was considerably higher.

The group also says that freezing - or reducing - the excise duty would reduce the incentives for people to bring cheap alcohol from abroad into the UK.

The Camra survey was carried out last month by members of its 200 branches across the UK. Establishments surveyed included managed, tenanted and independently-owned pubs.

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