Pub company Shepherd Neame unconvinced of merits of minimum pricing

07 April 2008 by
Pub company Shepherd Neame unconvinced of merits of minimum pricing

Kent brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame has given a lukewarm response to calls to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol.

However the pub company, whose boss Jonathan Neame lobbied Parliament ahead of the Budget in March, has urged the industry to continue its lobbying efforts on beer tax.

Neame was one of the industry figures including pub operators, brewers, supermarkets, health groups and Members of Parliament that met earlier this week at the behest of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) to discuss proposals for minimum pricing.

Neame told Caterersearch that it was difficult to say yes or no to such proposals without more detail.

"This is not an industry led proposition as it has come through the APPBG. It is one of many suggestions and the first one to be debated. I do not think that anyone left the meeting thinking that this was the immediate solution.

However he added: "The one thing the industry cannot and should not do is go off in a sulk. The Government needs to be told in no uncertain terms that they made a mistake."

The effectiveness of the pub industry's lobbying was called into question after the chancellor seemed to disregard the sector's call for clemency and announced inflation busting rises in duties on beers, wines and spirits.

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By Christopher Walton

E-mail your comments to Christopher Walton here.

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