Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Richard Siddle, comment, May 14

Published:  16 May, 2010

The dust is finally settling on an extraordinary week in British politics.

The dust is finally settling on an extraordinary week in British politics.

But just as hard work now starts for the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat government, so must the drinks industry look to move quickly to capitalise on these unprecedented times.
The basic facts are that once the honeymoon period between David Cameron and Nick Clegg fades away they are going to be faced with hard, tough decisions on how to turn the country's finances around.

We, as a collective industry, have to be realistic about what we can expect from the new administration. Even if the majority (63% ) of our readers got partly what they wanted in a Conservative-led government.

The government needs to find ways to make stringent cuts, and introduce efficiencies across all its departments. It is inevitable that raising revenue through increased duties on alcohol, cigarettes, petrol and other easy targets has to be on their agenda.

Whilst we in the drinks industry are only too aware of the ramifications increased duty levels has on the profitability and sustainability of the sector, it is a politically safe option to take. Any alcohol duty rise in a budget only warrants a passing reference in the national media. It is what they expect.

It is arguably time for the drinks industry to take a leaf out of the politicians book and forge a strong coalition of its own to ensure its voice is heard loud and clear not only at Westminster, but within the ever influential political media, blogging and tweeting community.

We need to listen carefully to what this government wants and needs to do and adapt our strategy accordingly. We are all aware in business that the best partners to work with are the ones who bring solutions to the table, rather than bleat about their own problems. It is up to us to offer practical solutions that offer the government the revenue generating, cost saving initiatives it needs, whilst allowing the drinks industry to drive through an agenda that suits our objectives as well.

We may lose out on duty, but gain through improved policies around pricing, promotions and regulation.