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Trade leaders meet Darling and Mandelson

Published:  16 March, 2009

The chairmen of the five leading drinks trade bodies held meetings with Chancellor Alistair Darling and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson on Monday, urging them to abandon the planned duty increase in April.

In both meetings the representatives pointed out the further harm to the drinks trade that would be created by the 2% above inflation tax escalator, which is scheduled to be applied in each Budget for the next four years.

The meetings come just weeks after the drinks industry warned in its first ever joint Budget submission that over 75,000 jobs are at risk if the government proceeds with its current plans.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association, British Beer & Pubs Association, Gin & Vodka Association, Scotch Whisky Association and National Association of Cider Makers said that jobs and government revenue were at stake.

A spokesman for the five trade associations 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."