APPBG highlights sectors 'immense contribution' to economy

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

APPBG 2023 awards highlights: Mike Wood (pictured) awarded Beer Drinker of the Year 2023
APPBG 2023 awards highlights: Mike Wood (pictured) awarded Beer Drinker of the Year 2023

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With growing challenges facing the beer and pub sector, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) has pledged to continue to press for change on beer duty and business rates.

Speaking at the APPBG awards dinner in London this week, marking the groups 30th​ anniversary, Alun Cairns, chairman of the APPBG, highlighted the immense contribution the sector makes to the economy: “This is an industry that contributes £268bn to the economy and employs almost a million people. Pubs are key to our tourism offer and Covid showed they perform the largest outreach in the country, enhancing local services, tackling loneliness and isolation.

Bright future 

“And it is for these reasons, that we will continue to press for further changes – on Beer Duty, Business Rates, employment legislation, apprenticeships levy, energy costs amongst others.”

Despite the challenges the sector faces, he said he remains optimistic: “I believe the Government recognises what you can bring to the table – the economic value, the social value – and that you are fundamental to the make-up of our communities and what makes the UK such a special nation. I am confident that continuing to work with Government and across all parties, the future of the industry is bright.”

The 30th​ Anniversary Awards Dinner also saw Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South and former chairman of the APPBG, named as “Beer Drinker of the Year” for 2023. Wood, who was elected in 2015 and joined the group almost immediately before taking on the chairmanship in 2017, was described as someone who has “consistently championed the importance of beer and pubs to the UK economy and local communities”.

Hardest hit 

The group also presented a number of other awards at the dinner, including Rod White of Nottingham University as "Brewer of the Year", MP for Central Manchester Lucy Powell as "Beer Parliamentarian of the Year" and MP for Perth and North Perthshire Pete Wishart as "Pub Parliamentarian of the Year".

Additionally, outgoing Secretary of the APPBG Dr Paul Hegarty was awarded the "Lifetime Achievement" accreditation while Marietta Stuart Smith was granted a "Special Award" for services to the APPBG and Pubco Fuller's received the "PubAid Award".

Cairns added: “When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit in 2020, Mike worked tirelessly to support the beer and pub sectors, among the hardest hit by the successive lockdowns and enforced closures. He was instrumental in raising the profile of the industry’s plight, working to secure meetings with Ministers and achieve a level of support for the industry that enabled businesses to survive and jobs to be saved.”

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