General election 2017

Drinks industry calls for ‘protection’ of £23.1bn pub trade

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Demands: CAMRA and WSTA set out general election manifestos
Demands: CAMRA and WSTA set out general election manifestos

Related tags General election Alcoholic beverage Uk

Demands for a more prosperous pub and drinks industry have been set out by sector organisations the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) ahead of the general election.  

Both organisations have delivered clear and compelling arguments in their manifestos for why election candidates should pay more attention to the pub and drinks industries.

CAMRA wants:

  1. Beer: celebrate and promote Britain’s 1,540 breweries
  2. Pubs: support action to help pubs thrive
  3. Consumers: represent the interests of pubgoers, beer and cider drinkers

CAMRA set out its stall at the weekend, pointing out the pub, beer and brewing sectors support almost 900,000 jobs as well as annually pumping £23.1bn into the UK economy.

The beer body called for an extension of duty on low-strength beers to be scrapped, and the duty on draught beer sold in pubs and clubs to be lowered.

General election

Candidates in the general election, set to take place on 8 June, have been urged to safeguard and protect British pubs and breweries during Brexit negotiations.

CAMRA national chairman Colin Valentine said: “The general election and upcoming negotiations to leave the European Union give us a unique chance to rewrite some of the tax rules that have a significant impact on the price of a pint in the pub.

“We would like to see a range of measures introduced during the next parliament to help reduce the huge tax burden facing UK brewers and publicans to ensure that pubgoers and beer drinking remains an affordable activity.”

Part of the organisation’s recommendations would be to have a permanent business rates discount of £5,000 for pubs in England.

‘Crucial for beer drinkers’

“Pubs are a uniquely British institution that showcase our nation’s brewing tradition, while providing an essential community facility for those that use them. It is therefore crucial that beer drinkers and pubgoers are not left behind when it comes to negotiating Britain’s future over the coming year.”

Meanwhile, the WSTA made five key demands of the next government to ensure a solid drinks industry in the future.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “This snap general election is a vital opportunity for the UK’s world-leading wine and spirits industry.

“We need to communicate to new decision makers what has to be done to ensure that our industry can thrive in today’s new political, economic and social landscape.”

The organisation’s five key demands of the future government are:

  1. Provide certainty to business via a well-managed Brexit, including sufficient transitional arrangements and continue to work towards frictionless, tariff-free trade with the EU
  2. Promote free trade with non-EU countries, working with the WSTA to develop the best deal for the wine and spirit trade and to promote British produce around the world
  3. Rebalance the excessively high duty burden on UK businesses and consumers by pledging to revise plans to increase wine and spirit duty by 26% (£1.9bn) over five years
  4. Support proven approaches to reducing alcohol harm through partnership working and self-regulation and agree to a moratorium on further regulation
  5. Support the great British wine and spirit industry by promoting sector deals, under an innovative industrial strategy: for wine and spirits, for food and drink and for British hospitality

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