The British Beer & Pub Association last night held its first ever North West Parliamentary reception, hosted by Weaver Vale MP, Graham Evans, who also Chairs the Parliamentary Beer Group, and Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton.
The North West boasts over 180 breweries and has over 5,800 pubs, and throughout the North West, the beer and pub industry supports some 180,000 jobs.
Over 30 MPs and Peers were in attendance to sample the beers, show their support for such a vital industry in their region, and hear about the rich brewing heritage of the North West.
Graham Stringer said that the North West was very much the “beer heartland” of the country, whilst Richard Kershaw, Chairman of the North West Beer & Pub Association, underlined that the region had been “hit hard” in the last decade with a 42 per cent rise in beer duty. Whilst three recent cuts and a freeze last year have helped, he warned that the industry is “not out of the woods yet,” and called for a further beer duty cut in the Budget.
Graham Evans spoke as Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG), and discussed the benefits of increased investment in beer and pubs giving people a social space to enjoy a drink, remarking that “socialising makes for good citizens.” Graham also mentioned his desire to see more women drinking beer.
Andrew Percy, the Pubs Minister, said that whilst he couldn’t say there would be a duty cut, “if any group can influence the Chancellor, it is the APPBG, which has been so successful until now.”
Brigid Simmonds then thanked those in attendance, and urged MPs to pledge their support for the beer and pub industry by asking the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to support the BBPA’s call for a cut in duty in the Budget on 8th March.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, British Beer & Pub Association, comments:
“We were very pleased to see such a good turnout from North West MPs, and encouraged by the support and enthusiasm shown for beer and pubs in the region. The industry is vital to both the North West and national economy, and I hope this importance is recognized with a cut in beer duty on 8th March.”
You can support the campaign for a in beer duty by visiting www.cutbeertax.com and sending a message to your North West MP.