Team should be supported

I found the tone and content of Steve Barton's letter in the last issue of OLN both alarming and rather misguided. I feel certain Mr Barton would be hard pressed to find any informed person in the trade who would agree with his interpretation of the effectiveness and performance of the entire team at the WSTA.

The WSTA did an incredible amount of work upfront and behind the scenes to attempt to influence the Treasury and other important government departments and put forward strong, evidence-based arguments and facts to support a freeze in duty. Its contact programme was complemented by one of the most comprehensive Budget submissions the WSTA has ever submitted to government. In my view, it could not have done more to argue the case against an above-inflation rise in duty.

In summary, as a full member of the WSTA, Steve Barton and his colleagues at Brand Phoenix will have received regular and thorough communications from the team in Bermondsey Street. Never before has this industry needed such a strong and effective trade association and I believe it is the view of entire trade that Jeremy and his team undoubtedly provide this strength and rather than stand aside, as Steve suggests, Jeremy should be universally supported.

David Cox

Managing director - Europe

Brown-Forman Wines

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