CHANCELLOR George Osborne was the toast of the UK's beer drinkers after cutting duty on a pint for the second successive year.

A decision to cut the duty brought a warm welcome from beer producers and consumers alike.

Following the 1p cut in the price of a pint, those in the industry said the move would protect 7000 jobs, mainly of younger people working in pubs and bars.

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Mike Benner, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), said: "Camra is delighted to see the Chancellor implementing an unprecedented second consecutive cut of 1p in beer duty. This is not only about keeping the price of a pint affordable in British pubs but helping an industry which has been in overall decline continue on its long road to recovery.

"Camra cares greatly about the future of the great British pub and it is clear from this Budget announcement that the Government do too. Keeping the price of a pint affordable is vital for the long-term health of the pub sector and Camra would hope this latest vote of confidence in British pubs will go some way to slowing the rate of closures, by encouraging more people to make use of their local this summer."

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: "This is fantastic news, and George Osborne is again the toast of Britain's brewers, pubs and pubgoers.

"It also shows that the Government has understood our case, that taxes on British beer had become far too high, and action was long overdue.

"I hope this becomes a trend in future budgets for this British-made, lower-strength drink."

Meanwhile, the freeze on duty for whisky held off the prospect of another 40p tax rise on the price of a bottle of whisky.

David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said that the decision to hold off further tax rises was a show of support for a major Scottish and British industry which supports 35,000 jobs.

He said: "We are delighted that the Chancellor and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury listened to our case for scrapping the unfair alcohol duty escalator and freezing whisky duty.

"It is a move that supports hard-pressed consumers, a major manufacturing and export industry and the wider hospitality sector.

"This fairer tax treatment in the UK, the third biggest market for Scotch Whisky, also sends the right signal on excise policy to the governments of the 200 countries to which we export. So its effects will be felt around the world."