CAMRA

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding community pubs and the CAMRA ‘pubs and real ale’ manifesto.

I share your concern about the serious challenges that are currently facing many community pubs and Britain’s breweries. Indeed, British pubs are closing down at a rate of twenty nine per week – almost twice the number of pub closures in 2011.

I also recognise the important contribution that community pubs and breweries can make to our local economy, jobs and trade.

The current Government have done far too little to address the challenges faced by the industry. They have been slow to introduce the proper statutory code that is needed to better regulate the pubco industry and they have failed to ensure that community pubs have proper protection in the planning system.

The recent 1p cut in beer duty is welcome but it should also be remembered that the Government’s decision to increase VAT to 20 per cent has added more to the price of a pint since 2011 than the beer escalator did. Working families are also £1,100 worse off than at the start of this Parliament, which has had a far more significant impact on pubs than anything the Government has done on regulation or duty.

Labour opposed the Government’s changes in planning law that means pubs can now be converted to supermarkets without the need for planning permission. A Labour Government will empower communities to have a greater say over local amenities and ensure that no community pub can be demolished or converted to another use without receiving planning permission.

Labour will also ensure large pubcos treat publicans more fairly and work with the brewing industry on a more effective export strategy. We want to see every landlord have the choice of whether to go free-of-tie and we believe that those pubs which choose to be tied should get a “guest beer provision.”

I know how strongly CAMRA have campaigned on this important issue over recent years. I hope this letter outlines how a Labour Government will support community pubs and breweries.