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General election: Stability good for the industry, WSTA claims

Published:  08 May, 2015

Following the political upheaval of the last 24 hours, the drinks industry has reacted to the news that David Cameron is returning to Number Ten with an increased majority.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA said the stability that came from an outright majority was good news for the industry.

"Everyone now knows what will happen next and that there will be a Conservative government implementing its manifesto, so from that point of view it is relatively clear," he told He pointed out that overall consumer confidence is key to the health of the UK wine and spirits industry and that instability would have had some impact.  

"David Cameron now has a stronger mandate and it will be easier to do business with a majority government than it would have been with a coalition of smaller parties. We look forward to working with the new Government and building on our activities and achievements of the last five years," he noted.

In a seminar prior to the election, the WSTA had argued that the Conservatives were currently the most supportive political party of the industry. It had said that while the Conservative manifesto was "sensibly light on regulation or intervention", a Labour-led coalition or Labour minority arrangement would be resulted in much more "nanny state intervention".

However Beale this morning pointed out that the "seismic" change in Scotland would have an impact on the industry as the next Tory government progresses further devolution, and pointed out that Scotland's relationship with the industry was "both close and complicated". "What is interesting is what impact this will all have on our United Kingdom and its relationship with Europe," he said.

He argued that market confidence was likely to be reassured in the immediate term, but the question of the European referendum would be very important in the medium term. "We know for certain now that a referendum on our membership of the EU will happen, and while that provides some sort of certainty and clarity..., it is time limited and might change prior to the referendum - depending on how negotiations with the EU progress."

Robin Copestick of Copestick Murray Wine Solutions also welcomed the news. "Our business is pleased with the results, not so much from a political standpoint, but more because it provides continuity for businesses, which makes for a stronger UK economy. It helps to provide stability which is good for consumer confidence and good for small businesses, which we are," he said.

A spokesman for the Scottish Whisky Association said: "With our members, we will be reflecting on the changed political landscape, both north and south of the border, and assessing how best to take forward our priorities in relation to a fair tax and competitive business environment, access to markets, and promoting responsible attitudes to alcohol."