Faversham and Mid Kent MP Hugh Robertson received a special award today, in recognition of his work to help secure last year’s historic cut in beer duty in the Budget.
Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Faversham-based brewery Shepherd Neame, presented Mr Robertson with the new ‘Beer Champion’ award.
The special award is a joint initiative from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), chaired by Mr Neame, along with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) all of whom wanted to recognise those who supported Britain’s national drink during 2013, especially in scrapping the Beer Duty Escalator, which led to the momentous cut in Beer Duty.
All three bodies have joined forces again this year, and are campaigning for a freeze in beer duty in this year’s Budget on March 19.
Mr Neame said: “This reward recognises Mr Robertson for his invaluable support in the campaign to scrap the beer duty escalator. He really helped in drawing attention to the harm caused by tax increases totalling 42% over four years.”
Mr Robertson also received a new limited edition British India Pale Ale (IPA), brewed especially for the occasion using two new British hops - Jester and Endeavour – by UK research and development company Campden BRI.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “I want to thank Mr Robertson for making a huge difference in achieving the historic duty cut in 2013. We are delighted to honour this achievement in the best way possible – with a great new beer.”
Mr Robertson said: “It has always been a great source of pride to me to have Britain’s oldest family brewery, Shepherd Neame, in my constituency and I am delighted that my time as Tourism Minister coincided with the Chancellor’s decision to scrap the Beer Duty Escalator.
“This has been a long-running campaign and I am delighted that its success has led directly to investment and job creation throughout the brewing industry. Accepting this award is a great honour, and will give me huge personal pleasure as a beer drinker and constituency MP for a brewing seat.”
Photo: Hugh Robertson MP with Shepherd Neame Chief Executive Jonathan Neame