The new chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group has promised to increase the trade’s “political muscle” in Parliament.
Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton and former vice-chairman of the group, was voted in as chairman last week at its annual general meeting.
He told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser: “The brewing industry and pubs haven’t had enough political clout in recent years.
“If you compare it to those lobbying for Scotch whisky and the wine industries there is no doubt beer has been the loser every time. Over successive parliaments beer has been a cash cow.”
Griffiths has increased the number of vice-chairmen in the organisation from three to eight in order to make the group more heavyweight.
“While there is a great deal of general support that hasn’t equated to political muscle. We have decided to broaden the executive and I am beefing up the machine as we need a bigger reach into Parliament.
“I hope we can raise the profile of political lobbying and make it less of a beer appreciation society.”
He has vowed to fight the industry’s case on a number of issues including duty, the differential between cider and beer duty, red tape and supermarket pricing.
Griffiths said: “This is not just about duty. Everything we do has to be about improving the profitability of breweries and pubs.”
Talking about the BISC investigation into the beer tie he added: “Clearly the pubcos need to lay the facts on the table.
“It is only right that the Government gets the reassurance it needs. Abolishing the tie is not the panacea.”
Griffiths took over from Alan Meale, Labour MP for Mansfield, who filled the role in a caretaker capacity for a year and was a founding member of the group.