Norwich pub landlady Dawn Hopkins met big guns Ed Miliband and Ed Balls at the first Labour party annual business reception and is hoping her links with the latter will keep the plight of struggling publicans foremost in their minds.

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Mrs Hopkins, who runs two Norwich pubs, the Rose in Queens Road and the Ketts Tavern in Ketts Hill, plus the Norwich Bear brewing company, was invited to Tuesday’s reception by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

The EDP is a keen supporter of community pubs and Mrs Hopkins was backed at the event by EDP reporter David Bale.

Mrs Hopkins was heavily involved in the successful City of Ale event in Norwich earlier in the year, and Mr Perkins was due to take part in the pub debate at that festival, before becoming ill.

Tuesday’s event was the start of Labour’s bid for the business vote and was attended by leader Ed Miliband, shadow chancellor Ed Balls and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, who all spoke at the reception.

The Labour Party is seeking to reach out to supporters in the business community.

Some of the biggest businesses in the country were represented in the 500-plus crowd at the Chartered Accountants’ Hall in central London, including other publicans and brewers.

Afterwards, Mrs Hopkins, who is keen to act as an ambassador for the pub trade in Norwich, said: “I’m hoping that my links with Ed Balls, who is a big Norwich City fan, will help to keep the pub industry in his mind.

“And he said that he would try and watch more Norwich City games live on our TV screen in the Rose next season, which will give me a chance to talk to him.

“He was much in demand at the reception so we just had the chance to talk about the games he watched at Carrow Road last season, and we shared a singalong of ‘On The Ball City’ in Norfolk dialect.”

Mrs Hopkins is particularly interested in getting politicians to discuss issues surrounding business rates, the beer duty escalator, supermarkets selling cheap booze, and the problems she and other publicans are facing with the increased costs of employing staff.

david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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