Industry hopes for better deal

14 May, 2010

Trade leaders are hoping for a more hands-off approach to the drinks industry following the formation of a Conservative-Lib-Dem coalition.

New Health Minister Andrew Lansley was the driver of Tory policy to replace unit labelling with an alcohol per centi­litre regime, and hit high-strength beer and cider with tax increases.

Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: “There was a lot of coverage of unit labelling, but they also expressed the view that individuals need to take more responsibility for their own actions.

“It would be a welcome change if we could move away from demonising the industry and towards a more grown-up culture surrounding drinking.”?The Conservatives said in the run-up to the election that they wouldn’t seek to increase alcohol taxes disproport­ionately.

Peter Darbyshire, managing director of wine agency firm PLB, said: “We can all imagine that we will remain a tempting short-term revenue-raising target for any government, coalition or otherwise.”?Nervousness and uncertainty for businesses are being forecast as a result of the hung Parliament.

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