Staughton challenge to would-be MPs


St Austell Brewery has laid down the gauntlet to Cornwall and Devon’s prospective MPs, challenging them to back the good old British pub in the run up to the General Election.

The brewery, one of the Duchy’s biggest private-sector employers, is hosting its own virtual hustings to help inform workers and encourage them to use their vote.

James Staughton, managing director of St Austell Brewery, has written to all parliamentary candidates and vowed to publish their responses on the company’s website.

The letter quizzes candidates on their support for local pubs, and whether they’ve signed up to the ‘I’m Backing the Pub’ pledge.

Staughton said: “St Austell Brewery is one of the oldest businesses in Cornwall, with 1,000 direct employees and at least 2,000 others whose jobs depend on the brewery. It’s vital they are aware of their potential MP’s views on the industry on which so many people’s livelihoods depends.

“Pubs play a vital role in our economy and are often the hub of local communities, yet many are struggling.

“As the election campaigns get into full swing, we hope that all parties and candidates show their support for pubs and recognise issues such as record levels of beer tax and red tape, which need addressing if we are to help protect this great British institution and promote safe, responsible drinking.”

The letter asks:

  • The British Beer and Pub Association have written to all candidates asking them to sign up to the ‘I’m Backing the Pub pledge’. Have you signed up to this campaign? If not, why?
  • Since 1997, the Government has put up tax on a pint of beer by 60%. In the last two years alone, during the recession, it has gone up 26%, which has cost hard pressed beer and pub sector an extra £171 million in tax. Do you think such increases are justified? What would you do about beer tax?
  • Do you think pubs in your area make a valuable contribution to the local economy?
  • Do you agree that pubs can be promoted as places for responsible, social drinking and what measures will you take if elected to ensure pubs are protected?

In the week prior to the election, Staughton will be writing to all brewery employees and publishing candidates’ replies on the brewery’s website.