SIBA's role in 'good year for beer' recognised
SIBA’s role in securing the industry victories that made 2013 a good year for the British brewing industry was recognised by Benet Slay, BBPA board member, at last night’s APPBG/BBPA Parliamentary reception.
There has been much to celebrate in 2013, but further opportunities lie ahead for the sector, BBPA Board Member Benet Slay told MPs and guests at the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group/BBPA Christmas reception in Parliament yesterday.
Mr Slay, Chief Executive of Carlsberg UK, said the ending of the beer duty escalator and the cut in beer duty had boosted industry confidence. He also highlighted other major milestones for the industry, such as Pubs are GREAT and the Let There Be Beer campaign, thanked MPs for their support for industry campaigns, and urged the Government to repeat the beer duty freeze in 2014.
Benet Slay’s full speech follows below:
Benet Slay, Board Member, BBPA, Chief Executive, Carlsberg UK
Speech to APPBG/BBPA Reception
Houses of Parliament, 11th December 2013
Secretary of State, Ministers, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you all for joining us for this Christmas celebration of beer.
My name is Benet Slay, and I am the Chief Executive Officer of Carlsberg UK, and in my capacity as a Board Member of the BBPA I would like to welcome you this evening.
I’m delighted to say that this joint reception of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group and the BBPA has become a ‘must-go-to’ event in the Westminster calendar and we are equally delighted to see so many MPs and Peers here celebrating with us this evening.
And despite the very tough ongoing market conditions and declining volumes, as an industry we still do have much to celebrate.
And much to thank you for, you our Parliamentary champions for beer and pubs.
• First and foremost, in terms of its positive impact on our industry’s confidence, is something that was delivered through a united and energetic campaign with SIBA and CAMRA and many other supporters. We persuaded you to persuade the then Economic Secretary Sajid Javid to convince the Chancellor of the economic case for ending the damaging beer duty escalator. And end it he did.
• In fact, as we all know, the Chancellor went further than that and announced the first cut in beer duty in this country since 1959. That’s 54 years ago. Some of us were still in shorts, some in vitro and some, looking around me, maybe not even a twinkle in someone else’s eye. By doing so the Chancellor more than earned his right to be named Beer Drinker of the Year by the Beer Group at their Annual Dinner this summer. Chancellor, the dye is cut – you know now how to win that accolade again in 2014!
• Going beyond excise duty we are particularly grateful to you Andrew, to Greg Mulholland, Gavin Williamson and Marcus Jones – you have all played a pivotal role in securing the many debates that helped keep our case at the forefront of Ministerial minds in 2013.
• In fact, so many MPs rallied to our cause that we would like to properly recognise the part you all played in consistently supporting our industry’s cause. To do this we are planning a Beer Champions Event here in the House on January 22nd. It will be great to see you all again.
• Further, in 2013, through the fantastic support of what we can safely describe as the ever-energetic Community Pubs Minister Brandon Lewis MP we have secured a PUBS ARE GREAT campaign with Visit Britain. These posters that you see here this evening are being promoted all over the globe in key markets for inbound tourists to the UK – recognising the fact that enjoying a beer in a British pub is, of course, in the top three of all visitor experiences for tourists to the UK. It’s part of the essence of Britain.
• The UKTI’s GREAT campaign is also promoting beer exports as a result of our new beer and cider export delivery from the BBPA, BFBI, National Association of Cider Makers and with SIBA support. Some of our most iconic British beer brands feature in the promotional materials deployed in key export markets.
• And within the UK the industry has also got behind the Let There Be Beer campaign, reminding British consumers about the great occasions when only a beer will do: it’s traditional, it’s cultural, it’s refreshing, it’s amazingly diverse and more often than you’d think, it’s a perfect fit.
• It feels like 2013 has been the year we have turned a really important corner. Last week’s Autumn Statement placing pubs at the heart of the Government’s new approach to business rates is further encouraging evidence of this.
• But our work is not done, and the challenging market conditions remain. It is vital we persuade you to keep to the course we have set out on in 2013. There are a number of ways, you won’t be surprised to hear, where we would welcome your continued support:
• With CAMRA and SIBA we believe there is a compelling case for a further freeze in beer duty in the 2014 Budget: both to help sustain the recovery we are beginning to see in our breweries and equally to take further pressure off our pubs, and to continue to support employment in your constituencies and in a very domestic business.
• We would like continued support for a business rates system that recognises the value of pubs in communities and on the high street
• We welcome a sensible alcohol strategy that endorses the partnership approach in the Public Health Responsibility Deal and one that promotes local voluntary partnerships – like Best Bar None, Pubwatch, Purple Flag schemes, Street Pastors and Business Improvement Districts. These are delivering results and supporting pubs and the night time economy- and represent a stronger approach than pursuing new financial or regulatory burdens on our industry. In the coming months we will continue to work with the Home Office and the new Local Alcohol Action Areas to address alcohol harm in an effective way through partnership across government, industry and other relevant parties.