Beer sales in pubs continued to fall in the second quarter of the year, despite it seeing the start of the FIFA World Cup.

Figures for the Moving Annual Total (MAT) between April and June 2018 indicate that pub beer sales were down one per cent on the same period last year. Meanwhile, the off-trade saw a 7.7 per cent increase in sales.

Overall beer sales were up by 3.6 per cent.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) which records the figures said the rate of decline in the on-trade was slower than in the previous 10 years (average fall of 3.7 per cent). The heatwave and World Cup were considered to be factors in the relative improvement.

The trade group also suggested the freeze on beer duty had been a positive factor and called for a similar move in the next Budget.

The BBPA is also backing the recently launched 'Long Live The Local' campaign which is fighting for a cut in duty. 

Brigid Simmonds BBPA chief executive, said: "It's certainly good to see that beer sales are doing better overall. There is a very real threat however that the Chancellor will increase beer tax again in the Budget later this year, which would be a huge backward step after so much progress has been made since he froze beer duty last year. We need further cuts in beer tax to help pubs and the great British brewing manufacturing industry."