Tory leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have been invited for a pint at their favourite pub for a chat with CAMRA about the benefits Britain’s beloved locals bring to communities and the threats they face.
As the leadership election continues, CAMRA has offered to get the beers in for either contender – if they are willing to meet and hear about actions a new PM could take to safeguard the country’s centuries-old tradition of socialising at the bar.
The 192,000-strong pubgoers’ group’s calls include investigating radical changes to the UK’s beer tax system, which could slash the cost of a pub pint closer to the price of ale in supermarkets.
CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said:
“Boris and Jeremy have both been pictured holding pints on the campaign trail so obviously recognise how important pubs are – but we’ve heard nothing from them on what they would do about the 14 a week that shut across the UK.
“This has been a divisive period in politics but Britain’s pubs remain a force for good and a driver of unity as they always have – bringing people together regardless of background, race or political colour, and showing Britain at its best to the rest of the world.
“Pubs are essential to community life, helping to tackle loneliness, improve people’s mental health and encourage those who choose to drink to do so in a social and supervised environment. At a time of economic uncertainty, their importance cannot be overstated – the pubs and brewing industry alone support 900,000 jobs and contribute £23 billion to the UK economy.
“I hope Boris and Jeremy will both take up this offer of a pint, meet me for a chat, and prove that pubs are for life, not just for campaign trail photocalls.”
CAMRA is calling on the next Prime Minister to look at three key reforms:
• changes to beer duty and VAT to support small pub businesses compete better with supermarket giants – something the EU does not allow but will be an option for the UK government post-Brexit;
• an urgent review of the business rates system to protect the high street and community pubs, with immediate support for the hardest hit venues in the interim;
• and better regulation of the massive companies which own many UK pubs, some of which have a record of treating the tenants who run them unfairly.