Sir Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West, and chair of the 1922 committee, has been elected as the new chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Wine and Spirits.
He brings with him a wealth of experience, as one of the most well-connected and senior MPs in the Conservative party. Sir Graham will step down from Parliament at the next election as the longest-serving Chair of the 1922 Committee in history, having worked with five prime ministers during his tenure.
Visiting the London Wine Fair this week Sir Graham was able to hear, first-hand, from wine and spirit businesses on how they will be impacted by the new alcohol taxation system from 1 August.
Sir Graham Brady said: “I am very pleased to take up the role as chair for the APPG for Wine and Spirits and look forward to flying the flag for the UK’s outstanding wine and spirit sector. There are many challenges ahead for the trade and I intend to make sure Government understands how best to help support it.
Talking to businesses at the London Wine Fair today it is clear that the new duty increases will have a damaging economic impact on the sector and it is imperative that we do all we can to avoid any job losses and unnecessary cost increases for consumers.”
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “We were delighted that MPs have elected as experienced an MP as Sir Graham Brady to chair of the APPG for Wine and Spirits, which the WSTA is proud to support. He brings with him a passionate for our members’ products, a belief in fairness and a desire to help UKI businesses thrive. We both believe enthusiastically that the world-renowned UK wine and spirit sector deserves much better support from the Government.
“In particular Sir Graham understands that the ‘double whammy’ tax hike – the highest single increase for almost 50 years – which comes into force this summer is a particularly bitter blow for the UKs SME rich wine and fortified wine businesses.”
The WSTA acts as secretariat to the Wine and Spirit APPG and has worked closely with the group over the years by raising the profile of the industry and securing several freezes in the wine and spirits duty.
However, the Government’s recent decision to punish wine and spirit businesses and consumers with a 10% duty hike for spirits and a staggering 20% for wine from 1 August. It is the largest increase in spirits duty since 1981 and in wine duty since 1975.
Sir Graham has already submitted a number of PQ’s challenging the duty hikes and we hope that the Government listens to the concerns of British businesses and prevents punishing price rises for cash-strapped consumers.
The APPG is also proud to re-endorse Father of the House, Sir Peter Bottomley, and Deputy Speaker, Nigel Evans as officers.
Two new Labour officers were also elected, giving the group a strong cross-party identity. Charlotte Nichols, chair of the Pubs APPG will provide strong links between industries, while Marsha DeCordova has several WSTA members and other industry stakeholders in her Battersea constituency.