The pub industry is under serious pressure and will need the support of the Government in 2008 more than ever, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
In an address to pub operators, brewers and MPs at Parliament last week, Michael Turner, chairman of Fuller's and the BBPA, called on the Government to beware of the march of "the new temperance movement".
He also reiterated BBPA calls for a freeze in beer duty, citing declining beer volumes, which have fallen 11% in the past decade while beer duty has climbed 27%.
Newly formed Alcohol Health Alliance has called for a 10% rise in alcohol tax and greater regulation of the drinks industry in a bid to curb binge-drinking and health problems.
But Turner urged that the freedoms of the majority of drinkers should not be impeded by the few who abused alcohol.
Speaking at the same event MP John Grogan, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, gave Turner his backing, stating that the group would be "prominent in fighting their cause" for a more rational approach to beer duty.
By Christopher Walton