Yesterday, Rosie went to meet Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive of Shepherd Neame Brewery and Chairman of Visit Kent. Mr Neame gave Rosie a guided tour of his family’s historic brewery, the natural brewing process and they discussed the importance of Kent’s hop-growing and brewing heritage. Rosie was also delighted to see the brewery’s use of local sign makers, shipwrights and other craftsmen in providing services and products to be used on the Shepherd Neame site.
During their meeting Rosie and Mr. Neame had an enthusiastic dialogue about the issues facing the local hospitality industry. They discussed how archaic taxation systems are causing difficulties for the UK pub and hospitality industry; the current regulations are seen by many to encourage people to drink low-price, low quality spirits at home, turning away from fermented drinks.
Rosie believes that supporting a thriving hospitality industry is vital for Canterbury and Whitstable. The hospitality industry is a key employer of 18-25 year olds and enfranchising younger workers in our community is vital for economic sustainability. Pubs landlords are often community champions, and good pubs, which often serve excellent locally-sourced food, should be celebrated. There is a world of difference between consuming alcohol in moderation, within a caring venue, and drinking to excess with the sole ambition of inebriation. Rosie agreed with Mr. Neame that current tax legislation penalised pubs (10,000 pubs have closed since 2007) where often the problem with heavy drinking lies elsewhere. It also is clear that where the hospitality and brewing industry is hit by heavy taxation, the digital sector continues to evade the government’s coffers. On both drinking behaviours and taxation policy, Mr Neame said the government should “deal with today’s problems and solve tomorrow’s”. Rosie couldn’t agree more.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]