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MP Griffiths joins tax meeting with minister

Thursday 13th January 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)

JOBS in Burton are at risk unless urgent action is taken to cut taxes levied on beer, the town’s MP has warned.

Andrew Griffiths and Molson Coors chief executive Mark Hunter were two members of a delegation that met with a senior Government minister to discuss the problem.

Mr Griffiths and Mr Hunter were joined in the meeting by Campaign for Real Ale chief executive Mike Benner, Titanic Breweries managing director Keith Bott, and economic secretary to the Treasury Justine Greening.

The gathering in the minister’s Whitehall office lasted for one hour and was described by Mr Griffiths as “positive” and “constructive”.

He said: “We met with the minister to make the case on behalf of the brewing industry.

“Clearly the industry has suffered massively due to the taxation policies of previous governments. We now have a situation where taxation has increased by more than 60 per cent on beer in recent years.”

Mr Griffiths spoke of the sadness he felt at the decline of beer and pubs.

“We are still seeing 29 pubs closing each week,” he said. “We have also seen a 17 per cent drop in beer sales in this country in recent years.”

The MP also claimed a pint of beer bore double the tax burden carried by a pint of cider.

He said: “Over a number of years, compared to cider or whisky, beer has suffered very badly at the hands of the Treasury.

We think it is about time beer was properly recognised by the Treasury.”

The Conservative also warned that unless action was taken, jobs in Burton would be under threat.

He said: “The unfair taxation levels are damaging the brewing industry and this is harming jobs in Burton.

“All the beer industry is asking for is fairness in the system.

“The beer industry not only creates a huge number of jobs in Burton and nationally, but also in farms and in agriculture.”

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