‘Government will see pub struggles’, says new Beer Group chair

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Fight: 'MPs will see pub struggles'
Fight: 'MPs will see pub struggles'

Related tags All-party parliamentary beer Alcoholic beverage

New All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) chair Mike Wood has vowed to show Government the everyday struggles pubs face in a bid to bring back growth to the sector.

Wood, who was announced the APPBG chair at a dinner last night (11 July) and is the Conservative MP for Dudley South, told The Morning Advertiser ​how in his new role he would lobby Government to help the pub industry thrive again.

“I want to bring more MPs to pubs to show them the challenges they face so that Government understands them,” he said.

“Pubs play an important role in society and we need to take advantage of that.”

Lower beer duty

The new chair, who replaced Graham Evans who lost his seat at the last election, also claimed he would fight to lower beer duty before the next Budget was announced in the autumn.

“The Chancellor is about to announce his autumn Budget and we will be talking to him before it happens,” he said.

“Beer duty is too high and we need to give the beer industry space to grow because brewers and pubs support each other.”

He added the British beer industry is the best in the world and should be treated as such.

To boost pub growth he would also fight Government on the issues of supermarkets and other businesses paying lower business rates than pubs.  

Wood added pubs are a safe space in which consumers can drink alcohol and be monitored on whether they are drinking too much, unlike clubs where it was more likely punters could drink without the bar staff necessarily knowing how much they had consumed.

Can’t keep tabs on customers

In a club, he added, the bar is often so full that the staff can’t keep track of what the customers have had to drink.

Before becoming an MP, Wood trained as a barrister, working for seven years in the European Parliament.

He was focused on European internal market policy, which persuaded him that Britain would be better off out of the European Union, and claimed the pub trade could grow outside of the constraints imposed by the EU.

He has taken on roles in a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG), which include chairing the group on road passenger transport as well as being an officer on groups covering learning disabilities, the West Midlands economy, local economic growth, urban transport, education governance, global education for all and the furniture industry.

In the register of APPGs on 2 May 2017 it showed that the APPBG had received financial benefits from a range of organisations.

Greene King, Marston’s, Carlsberg, AB InBev, Punch Taverns, Heineken and Molson Coors all donated £5,725 each. Diageo gave the group £5,310, Society of Independent Brewers £5,000, Stonegate Pub Company £2,755 and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers £2,000.

Background reporting by Michelle Perrett.

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