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Campaign for Pubs Publishes the Manifesto for Pubs

The Campaign for Pubs has published the Manifesto for Pubs, listing all the key policies that the incoming Government needs to implement to support and save pubs, stop unnecessary closures and help publicans and small brewers get through the cost-of-living crisis. The Manifesto for Pubs is calling for a transformative new approach to the world famous UK pub sector in the next Parliament, to change the fortunes for pubs and give a better more sustainable future.

The Manifesto for Pubs incorporates the six key policies in the general election #PledgeforPubs, but goes into full detail of the wider issues facing pubs and the areas where Government can and must act, to stop the current spate of closures and allow publicans the freedom to operate successfully, tackling unfair business practices and restraint of trade, as well as targeted tax relief focused on pubs, not on huge corporations.

The Campaign for Pubs is calling on the next Government to introduce measures that help pubs – and not just huge corporations, global brewers and developers. That means that the next Government must be one that listens to pubs, publicans and communities, rather than listening only the lobbyists of the giant pubcos and big brewers as the current Government has done.

The Manifesto for Pubs covers all the key areas of Government policy where things need to change, to give pubs the chance to get through the current cost-of-living crisis and to then thrive going forward.

Key policy proposals focus on much needed direct support for pubs and publicans.  That includes an urgently needed energy cap for businesses.  It also requires a complete overhaul of the business rates system which penalises many pubs, with the pub sector paying over half a million pounds more than it should every year. The Campaign for Pubs is also urging candidates and the next Government to review the level of VAT for hospitality and review the option to implement Small Retailer’s Relief, changing the VAT system to introduce a progressive lower rate of VAT for small independent business, with supermarkets and large chains paying the full rate.

The Campaign is also asking for a change to planning law to stop the cynical buying and selling of pubs for development, by introducing its Give Pubs Protection policy to provide every historic pub a chance. It means that no established pub of at least 50 years old or more can be converted or demolished until and unless it has been openly marketed at the independently assessed value as a pub for at least a year. Currently, pubs up and down the country are being sold off for development despite being viable and despite new owners wanting to buy them as a pub.  Unless the law changes, that will continue to happen. The Campaign is then calling for a genuine community right to buy pubs, as part of a reformed Localism Act. That requires overhaul of the flawed and weak Asset of Community Value system for pubs, so that it is properly focused and strengthened to actually allow communities to buy their pubs – something often prevented, even when communities have raised the funds to pay the asking price.

The Campaign is also calling on the next Government to introduce a meaningful Pubs Code and genuine Market Rent Only option to deal with ongoing abuse of the beer tie. Promises made to publicans and campaigners were broken when the Pubs Code legislation was diluted and neutered, denying thousands of tenants the right to go free-of-tie. The Campaign is also calling for the tie to be banned for non-breweries and to be restricted to beer brewed by brewer-owned pubs. The abuse of the tie has been a huge factor in thousands of pub closures over the last twenty years and the focus of Parliamentary scrutiny, yet the current weak and flawed Pubs Code and ineffectual Pubs Code Adjudicator has failed to address this scandal, contributing to unnecessary pub closures.

The Campaign for Pubs, which also represents many UK small brewers, is also calling for help to stop the raft of closures of small breweries.  In addition to a much-needed energy cap, the Campaign wants to see a long-overdue Competition and Markets Authority review of the UK beer and pub sector, to deal with the anti-competitive dominance of giant brewers and pubcos, which is bad for small brewers, bad for publicans, bad for beer consumers and bad for communities.

Paul Crossman, Chair of the Campaign for Pubs and a publican in York said:
“The Manifesto for Pubs lays out the key areas where the incoming UK Government must act to support and save pubs. This manifesto is written by publicans, pub experts and campaigners as well as small brewers, so it accurately reflects the real issues facing pubs and what is needed to support and save them.

“The entire policy approach to pubs needs to change after this general election. We now desperately need a government that is not in thrall to big business but instead places the emphasis where it needs to be, on supporting the dedicated small businesses that are the true wealth creators and innovators as well as being vital community hubs.

“We need a government that will act to end to the systematic corporate profiteering and wealth extraction that continues to afflict thousands of pubs across the UK, and that will put real planning protection in place to end the pillaging of our remaining precious national pub stock by rapacious developers whose only interest is a quick profit”.

Dawn Hopkins, Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Pubs and a publican in Norwich said:
“The incoming Government needs to act to save our world-famous pubs and pub culture and that means listening to the people who actually run pubs and not to the lobbyists of the global brewers and pubcos.

“There needs to be targeted help for to get through the cost-of-living crisis, starting with an energy cap for businesses to deal with extortionate energy bills as well as a complete overhaul of business rates, to deal with the unfair way pubs are taxed.  The next Government must also reform the planning system, to stop the cynical buying and selling of pubs as development opportunities and to allow pubs to continue as a pub, where there is a buyer at the independently assessed value as a pub.

“The Campaign for Pubs is ready to work with the new Government and all MPs to deliver a proper programme of sensible workable policies, to stop unnecessary closures and support pubs through the cost-of-living crisis. With the right targeted support and the right policies, we can turn the tide, stop the predatory purchasing of pubs and give pubs a more sustainable, brighter future.

Phil Saltonstall, brewer representative of the Campaign for Pubs and founder of Brass Castle Brewery said:
“We call on the next Government to back pubs and small brewers, to ensure that locally produced high quality beer, our national drink, is available in pubs in their area.

“We need a Government on the side of Britain’s pubs and small brewers and not one that is wholly subservient to a few multinational brewers seeking to dominate our sector. We need to reestablish the successful pub/local supplier relationship that can drive growth rather than watch our beer industry being asset stripped into offshore accounts.

“As well as acting to support and save pubs, the incoming Government needs to launch a long-overdue a Competition and Markets Authority review of the dysfunctional beer and pub sector.  Despite clear indications of reductions in consumer choice, closed/tied markets and the diminishment of UK pub stock, big beer lobbyists have successfully caused recent governments to ignore the problem of a vertically integrated market and look the other way.  Powering-up our Great British beer industry, so that it works for Britain, begins with a Competition and Markets Authority review.”