Neil Coyle MP to head up All-Party Parliamentary Group for Wine & Spirits

Labour MP Neil Coyle is the new chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Wine and Spirits.

The Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP replaces Tim Loughton, who stepped down last month after a four-year stint that saw the group’s membership expand to record levels.

Coyle was first elected into parliament at the 2015 general election and he was among the MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, although in 2016 he confessed he had “come to regret” that decision.

When a snap general election was called last year, Coyle was re-elected with an almost trebled majority in his south London constituency.

He is a staunch industry backer and previous campaigns have seen him fight to save local pubs.

It is an interesting time to begin his reign, as spirits has just enjoyed a duty freeze as a result of strong lobbying from MPs – a freeze also enjoyed by beer and cider – but wine was the only alcoholic drink to be hit with a duty rise.

Coyle said: “It’s a crucial time for the wine and spirit industry and I start in my new role as a welcome freeze in duty for spirits was announced at the Budget, whilst wine saw a rise in duty in line with RPI inflation.

“The wine and spirit industry in the UK is hugely important – supporting around 473,000 jobs and contributing £49 billion in economic activity. I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the House, and with the WSTA in their role as secretariat, furthering the cause of trade, jobs, and economy for the industry in the coming years.”

The offices of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and the charity Community Alcohol Partnerships are all located in his constituency.

The WSTA acts as secretariat to the Wines and Spirits APPG and has worked closely with the group over the years by raising the profile of the industry and securing several freezes in wine and spirits duty.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The WSTA works closely with the APPG throughout the year and I’m sure Neil’s enthusiasm for his new role will be hugely helpful. I’d also like to thank Tim for his four years of service as chair of the group.

“2019 will be a crucial year for wines and spirits. The shape and form of Brexit is still, at this very late stage, unclear, and that is providing an enormous amount of uncertainty for business.

“Whilst the treatment of spirits at the Budget last month was welcome, wine is still the subject of grossly unfair treatment by the Chancellor, and wine companies in particular have no more left to give as he continues to squeeze businesses in the sector for tax revenue.

“The efforts of the APPG will be vital if we are to undo some of the damage done, both at the Budget in October and as a result of Brexit, and I’ve no doubt Neil, in his role as chair, will be more than up to the task.”

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