Monday, 8 January 2018

UK beer tax and tax yield 1930 - 1939

As promised, some numbers to go with yesterday's post.

I started collecting statistics years ago, long before this blog kicked off. It was a lot of effort for no particular direct return. Longterm, it's a totally different matter. I'm so glad I put the work in because I have most of the numbers I need to hand. Like this set.

A couple of notes. The tax in 1930 and 1934 - 1939 wasn't really 80 shillings a barrel. It was 100/- per standard barrel with a 20/- rebate per bulk barrel. Which meant that the tax was effectively higher the stronger the beer. For example, a barrel of 1027.5º (half standard gravity) would be 50/- minus 20/- making the tax 30/-. While a beer at the standard gravity of 1055º would be 100/- minus 20/- leaving tax of 80/-. You can see that the stronger beer paid more than double the tax of the weaker beer.

The average tax per pint I've calcutated in a very simple way: by dividing the total tax collected by the number of pints brewed.

UK beer tax and tax yield 1930 - 1939
Year Total Tax £ Bulk Barrels Std. Barrels Tax/Std. Brl Av. sg tax pint
1930 71,254,674 25,061,956 19,550,867 80s 1042.9 2.37d
1931 69,269,299 23,900,213 18,488,400 114s 1042.54 2.42d
1932 68,710,020 20,790,812 15,514,209 114s 1041.04 2.75d
1933 67,097,581 17,950,303 12,658,324 114s 1039.52 3.11d
1934 53,884,405 20,182,308 15,043,120 80s 1040.99 2.22d
1935 53,582,335 20,864,814 15,577,836 80s 1041.06 2.14d
1936 55,451,926 21,969,763 16,386,985 80s 1041.02 2.10d
1937 57,318,585 22,724,450 16,985,231 80s 1041.1 2.10d
1938 61,241,404 24,205,631 18,055,539 80s 1041.02 2.11d
1939 62,370,034 24,674,992 18,364,156 80s 1040.93 2.11d
1928 Brewers' Almanack
1955 Brewers' Almanack

You can see that Sir Edgar Sanders was correct when he said that the tax on a pint of beer was 3d a pint in 1933. Though the tax yield was even lower that £74,000,000 and didn't even reach £70 million. The amount of tax collected only got back to the level of 1931 in 1940, after extra wartime taxation had been levied.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you have any additional context for UK beer taxes? For instance, what were other countries doing? Or maybe what were the other major sources of revenue for the British government?

I think modern bond rating companies would seriously frown on a government that put such high dependence on revenue from a single source with such potential for variability as beer.