Industry leaders query need for an alcohol minister

By Michelle Perrett & Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Thought, Molson coors brewing company, Mark hunter

Westminster: Hunter wantsd an alcohol minister
Westminster: Hunter wantsd an alcohol minister
Industry leaders have warned that calls for an alcohol minister could be detrimental to the trade. They were responding to Molson Coors chief...

Industry leaders have warned that calls for an alcohol minister could be detrimental to the trade.

They were responding to Molson Coors chief executive Mark Hunter who last week suggested the industry needed a designated alcohol minister to oversee a consistent alcohol strategy across Government.

In a blog​ written for the Publican's Morning Advertiser, Hunter said he was "baffled" at policy decisions (such as the 7.2% duty rise on beer) that seem disconnected from the Government's alcohol responsibility and growth strategies.

However, industry leaders opposed the move, claiming it will not necessarily help the trade.

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: "I don't know where he (Hunter) has got this from. He should speak to his customers more before he comes out with these sort of announcements. I think he can rub the trade up the wrong way."

BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) chief executive Neil Robertson also agreed that having an alcohol minister would not necessarily bring more joined-up thinking within Government.

He said: "Having an alcohol minister would not necessarily be a good thing. It is not always to your advantage to have a designated minister. You are not going to get a minister who argues against duty rises.

"What would the minister do? I understand the frustration that there doesn't seem to be a balanced view being taken on alcohol, but I doubt there would be much for an alcohol minister to do."

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Nick Bish said: "Mark Hunter is right in that there is a need for joined-up Government thinking on alcohol, but ministers work for policy and not necessarily for fairness."

Related topics: Legislation

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