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Freeze on VAT promises shadow minister

Published:  19 October, 2009

Tobias Ellwood MP, the shadow minister for Culture, Media and Sport, has promised a a six month freeze on VAT for struggling pubs and other small businesses if the Conservatives win the next election.

Speaking at the Best Bar None (BBN) annual conference in Leicester, he also congratulated the organisation for the steps it is taking to promote and tackle responsible drinking in the on-trade.

"BBN is successfully motivating local businesses to tackle the challenges that arise from alcohol related behaviour in a way that legislation alone could never replicate. I hope to see further schemes established across the country and would welcome a continued dialogue with BBN as we continue to debate licensing proposals."

Stephen Gould, managing director of Everards Brewery told the conference that the licensed trade needs to work closer with the tourism industry and local authorities to develop a local vision for towns and cities which sets out where they want to be in the next 10 or 15 years. He also encouraged the licensed retail industry to stop creating new initiatives and make the most of those, such as BBN, that already exist and are proven to work.

BBN chairman Lord Rupert Redesdale urged delegates to get more involved in lobbying their local MP, arguing they shouldn't leave it to their trade associations and institutions to make their case to the government.

Neil Robertson, chief executive of BBN, said the organisation had helped contribute to an average 30% reduction in alcohol related crime.