Grogan: beer industry must decide on tax

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mp john grogan, Alcoholic beverage

Grogan: Tory plans are attracting attention
Grogan: Tory plans are attracting attention
The beer industry must decide if it will break ranks with the rest of the drinks industry and back Tory calls for an increase on high strength...

The beer industry must decide if it will break ranks with the rest of the drinks industry and back Tory calls for an increase on high strength drinks.

That's according to Labour MP John Grogan, who believes that the debate on minimum pricing will hot up.

Last week, Tory leader David Cameron said a Tory Government would look at the "unbelievably low prices of some alcohol" through higher tax on strong abv products.

However, the beer, wine and spirits industries joined forces to lobby for a freeze across the board last year.

"The British Beer & Pub Association has given a warm welcome to these tentative proposals but as they become more concrete there will be important questions for both the Conservatives and the industry associations to answer," said Grogan, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

"By endorsing the case for higher taxation on high-strength alcohol products, will industry lobbyists in the run-up to the 2010 Budget abandon their strategy of calling for a complete freeze on all alcohol duties?

"Such are the very different interests of beer, cider, wine and whisky that the coalition between the various different trade associations spanning the sector was unlikely to last for long.

"With the pressures on public finances in the coming years meaning that alcohol duty overall is likely to rise, the challenge for beer is surely to prove to prospective Chancellors that it is a special case."

The BBPA has previously said it would welcome "a tax system that does not penalise a low strength drink like beer".

Grogan added: "As for curtailing below-cost selling, the question for policy-makers is how on earth this can be done effectively except through a system of minimum pricing?

"It is interesting to note that Dr Sarah Wollaston, the new Tory candidate for Totnes, who uniquely was elected by a primary vote of all her constituents, has spoken in favour of just such a minimum price of alcohol."

John Grogan's My Shout is published in the Morning Advertiser​ tomorrow. You can read the digital edition online from 1130am.

Related topics: Beer, Legislation

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