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MP steps up campaign to help brewing industry


Friday 21st January 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)

EXCESSIVE rules and regulations imposed by the European Union are damaging Burton’s brewing industry, the town’s MP has claimed.

Andrew Griffiths called a meeting between himself, Molson Coors chief executive Mark Hunter, and Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour to discuss the problem at the brewery’s Burton headquarters.

Mr Griffiths has argued for some time that excessive taxation and regulation from both Westminster and Brussels has hurt the brewing industry.

Last week the Mail reported that Mr Griffiths had led a delegation of brewery bosses calling for the Treasury to cut taxes levied on beer.

He has now taken his campaign to the international stage after winning the support of Mr Harbour, who agreed to fight the brewing industry’s corner in Brussels.

Mr Griffiths said: “More and more legislation affecting Burton’s brewers comes from the European Union. I am really pleased that our MEP, Malcolm Harbour, has agreed to fight for Burton in the European Parliament.”

He continued: “European regulations on the key issues, such as the pricing and taxation of alcohol, have a massive impact on the success of our local brewers. By bringing such an influential European politician on board, I hope that we will get a better deal in Europe.”

Mr Harbour represents the West Midlands in the European Parliament and serves on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

The MEP said: “My visit to Molson Coors was extremely informative. I found out about future business plans as well as some of the issues and challenges the industry is facing.

“I will be highlighting some of the points discussed with the relevant EU commissioner and working closely with Andrew Griffiths to get some muchneeded answers for Molson Coors.”

Since becoming vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Beer earlier this year, Mr Griffiths has been vocal about issues affecting the brewing industry.
Earlier this week, he branded Government proposals to impose minimum prices per unit of alcohol ‘pointless’.

He claimed the proposals did not go far enough to stop supermarkets selling cans of alcohol for less than the price of cans of Coca Cola.

“European regulations on the key issues, such as the pricing and taxation of alcohol, have a massive impact on the success of our local brewers. By bringing such an influential European politician on board, I hope that we will get a better deal in Europe.”

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