The chairmen of the UK's major drinks industry trade associations have met Chancellor Alistair Darling and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to call on the government not to raise drinks taxes in the upcoming Budget.
Christopher Carson of the WSTA, Ian Jamieson of the Gin & Vodka Association, Paul Walsh of the Scotch Whisky Association, Fenella Tyler of the National Association of Cider Makers and Michael Turner of the British Beer & Pub Association met the two ministers separately yesterday.
They urged them to abandon the 2% over inflation duty escalator on alcohol due to start in April, and called for no further excise duty hikes in this year's Budget.
And they repeated warnings that 75,000 jobs could be lost in the drinks trade if the tax escalator goes ahead, and that tax revenue from alcohol could be ú1.6 billion lower than Treasury estimates.
The figures come from research by Oxford Economics included in this year's Budget submission.
A spokesman said: "We appreciate the opportunity to make our case directly to the Chancellor and Lord Mandelson and hope that they will take a close look at the potential impact on employment of any further tax increases.
"The government has a real opportunity next month to reverse its planned tax increases on the drinks industry to protect jobs and Treasury revenue."