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Battling for brewers, promoting publicans

On 31/01/14 by Gareth Barrett

Our Budget 2014 campaign has, in effect, been in motion since 21st March 2013 – after an evening of celebrating our success in securing an historic beer duty cut in the Budget.

Far from resting on our laurels after last year’s success, we have been working hard, and will continue to do so in the weeks ahead, to present the case for a freeze in beer duty.

The message is more nuanced than before - the challenge and opportunity of a policy environment that follows a duty cut is not one the industry has recently experienced. We have to, of course, make clear the considerable benefits of the duty cut. We have done this in our Cheers! report, and in the updated Beer Story leaflet – and we have been highlighting that for the first time we have had two quarters of consecutive volume growth in beer sales in a decade.

Beer in Britain remains overtaxed. When compared to Europe, the amount of duty paid on every pint is at a level that seriously hinders sector growth. Beer sales in the on-trade, for pubs and publicans, whilst stabilising, have not yet turned the corner.

These messages have to be delivered in a coherent and clear way that encourages advocacy from our Parliamentary supporters, as well as everyone who cares about the beer and pub industry.

So how can we achieve this?

1) Clear economic arguments – George Osborne has indicated that it was economics that won the duty battle in the end – the politics gave us the opportunity to have our policy goals considered, but the numbers had to make sense. As we go forward we have updated information from Oxford Economics allowing us to give detailed constituency information to MPs on the huge positive impact of beer and pubs on jobs and wages, and in their local economy.

2) Our members – our members are our greatest asset. As employers and local businesses they have the capacity to exert a very unique influence on stakeholders and parliamentarians. Through our member engagement packs, they can make a very real difference to this campaign. The wider regional voice is also key – with the upcoming Yorkshire Beer & Pub Association Parliamentary Reception being a fantastic opportunity for this.

3) Alliances remain essential – working with previous duty campaign partners, CAMRA and SIBA, we have produced reports such as ‘Cheers! The impact of the beer duty cut’.

We recently hosted the ‘Parliamentary Beer Champions’ awards – celebrating ongoing Parliamentary support - and have issued certificates for those MPs who could not make the initial event. Offering clear public recognition to our successful advocates allows us to take forward our 2014 case for a beer duty freeze with them – and encourage others to support us this year. These two new initiatives have been complemented by an update of the highly popular ‘Beer Story’ publication and infographics; with the addition of new partner, Pubs of Ulster, coming on board as well. We also have plans to brief wider stakeholders in the near future.

Alongside all of this, Andrew Griffiths MP and the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group remain important advocates and a focus for Parliamentary engagement.

4) Using our opportunities - we have made sure to link in our key Budget messages in all of our work with MPs, the media and Parliamentarians. We have continued our strategic media partnerships, using those relationships we worked so hard to form, to provide a stream of media friendly stories with regular hits. Our branded materials contain both good news and challenges.

In short, we have a campaign with a clear and concise message, and a plan that brings together the BBPA and the wider industry to make the compelling case for a beer duty freeze. Please use the various links to find out more, or feel free to get in touch!


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