Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Greene King chief responds to accusations of drinks industry influence over Government

16:10 08 January 2014

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King

ADAM SMYTH PHOTOGRAPER

The boss of pubs and brewing group Greene King has reiterated his support for minimum pricing of alcohol, amid claims that Ministers were “dancing to the tune of the drinks industry” when they shelved the policy last year.

shares

The boss of pubs and brewing group Greene King has reiterated his support for minimum pricing of alcohol, amid claims that Ministers were “dancing to the tune of the drinks industry” when they shelved the policy last year.

According to a report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the Department of Health held 130 meetings with representatives from the drinks sector, including two after its public consultation on minimum unit pricing (MUP) had ended.

In a letter published in today’s Daily Telegraph, a group of 22 health professionals, including Sir Ian Gilmore, special adviser on alcohol at the Royal College of Physicians, accused the Government of “deplorable practices”.

They said: “An investigation conducted by the British Medical Journal shows that ministers met drinks industry representatives to discuss alternative measures to minimum pricing at a time when the principle of this policy was not up for public debate.

“We call on the Government to stop dancing to the tune of the drinks industry and prioritise public health.”

The BMJ article also highlights links between three All-Party Parliamentary Groups, supporting the beer, spirits and wine industries, and their respective sections of the drinks trade.

It identifies Greene King as one of eight companies which made financial donations to the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group last year, but does not mention that the Bury St Edmunds-based company is, in fact, a supporter of minimum pricing.

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: “As the UK’s leading pub retailer and brewer, Greene King recognises the industry’s responsibility to limit the negative impact on society of excessive alcohol consumption and reiterates its support for the introduction of MUP in the UK.”

He added: “As we have stated previously, it is our belief that, in the main, alcohol consumption in the UK plays a beneficial and socially constructive role in our society. But, the irresponsible sale of cut-price alcohol has played a significant role in negatively changing the manner in which it is consumed for some drinkers in the UK.

“We therefore continue to urge the Government to stick to its previously announced plans to introduce MUP in England and Wales. We believe this would be an effective step in directly addressing the growing problems associated with irresponsible alcohol retailing and consumption.”

Andrew Griffiths MP, chairman of the all-party beer group, said he had also lobbied on behalf of the group in favour of minimum unit pricing, as had his predecessor as chairman, John Grogan, during the previous Parliament.

Mr Griffiths told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser that the group had been “scrupulously open and transparent” in the way it operated and that the BMJ article read like “a conspiracy theorist’s internet blog”,

The Government shelved its plans to set a minimum per-unit price for alcohol last July, even though it had been championed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Cameron’s official spokesman told a Westminster media briefing today: “I think people would expect all Government departments, when they are considering policy areas, to meet with a wide range of stakeholders. That is what the Department of Health has been doing with stakeholders across the board.”

However, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “Public health policy is in utter disarray. After the tobacco industry last year, these revelations raise yet more concerns about the influence of big business on this Government’s policies.”

Related articles

shares

0 comments

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, left, shaking hands with Mike Tye, chief executive of the Spirit Pub Company, outside Spirit's headquarters in Burton uponTrent following the sale deal.

Jobs are at risk at Greene King following a major acquisition earlier this year.

EDF workers are unhappy over pay.

Hundreds of workers at energy giant EDF are to stage a 24-hour strike in a row over pay.

Amos Smith who is launching a new yoghurt called Mossy's from a secret family recipe.

A popular yogurt made to a secret family recipe has been revived by a young food entrepreneur.

Land next to Burger King is for sale

Tesco, Mothercare and Toys R Us could soon have a new neighbour at Copdock Mill

A city worker looks at a stock ticker screen at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London.

Volatile stock market conditions took their toll again today as the FTSE 100 Index plunged after sharp gains in the previous session.

The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, has met with the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Ipswich to hear of their work delivering support to firms across the region.

The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, met with the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Ipswich to hear of their work delivering support to firms across the region last week.

Sainsbury's supermarket was only one of Britain's big four supermarkets to grow sales in the last three months - but still saw its number two spot in the sector retaken by Asda.

Sainsbury’s was the only one of Britain’s big four supermarkets to grow sales in the last three months - but still saw its number two spot in the sector retaken by Asda, according to latest industry data.

Family law expert Georgina Hall, now a partner at Prettys

East Anglia law firm Prettys, which has offices in Ipswich and Chelmsford, has announced the promotion of family law expert Georgina Hall to partner, bringing the total number of partners in the firm to 10.

Poundlands £55 million acquisition of rival 99p Stores has provisionally been given the green light.

Poundland’s £55 million acquisition of rival 99p Stores has provisionally been given the green light.

RSA Insurance Group chief executive Stephen Hester, as the More Than owner said it was willing to back a £5.6 billion takeover bid from Swiss rival Zurich after its suitor put forward a proposed offer.

More Than owner RSA Insurance said it was willing to back a £5.6 billion takeover bid from Swiss rival Zurich after its suitor put forward a proposed offer.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages