Monday, 26 July 2010

Proud of Pubs Week - Here's to pubs!

The leading pub trade magazine, The Publican ran its 4th annual Proud of Pubs Week (16th – 25th July) and pubs across the country have come up with a diary of events to make sure that local communities can celebrate the pub.

Pubs inject an average of £80,000 into their local communities and pay over £100,000 in tax. The industry employs over 540,000 people directly and 380,000 in associated trades and account for 35% of the ‘eating out’ market (Source: The Publican).

I joined Lisa Nandy MP, Wigan Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Branch Chair, Ken Worthington at the Caledonian Hotel, Bolton Rd, Ashton in Makerfield.

Landlady Paula Rock and her partner Allan Prior welcomed us and spoke with Lisa, Ken and myself about the unique challenges facing the industry, including over regulation, alcohol tax hikes and the effect cheap booze sold by the off licence trade has on the pub. Paula also talked about their involvement in local community activities including the help they provided in creating a community park for the benefit of local residents and the people of Ashton.

During the general election campaign both Lisa and I signed the CAMRA pledge to speak up for real ale, community pubs and consumers.

I believe that well-run pubs are the bedrock of community life – they are part of the solution to the problem of alcohol misuse and not part of the problem. They deserve support and government needs to urgently look at rebalancing alcohol taxation to support pubs and reform the beer tie to deliver a fairer deal for consumers.

Lisa Nandy MP said, “Wigan boasts some top class pubs which provide a vital social and leisure service to the town. As a fan of real ale I was delighted to be able to sample some of the brews on offer at the Cale.”

Chair of Wigan CAMRA, Ken Worthington said, “Well run pubs provide the vibrant heart of many communities offering an invaluable meeting place and centre for countless local activities. The loss of such pubs can be devastating to community spirit and identity. CAMRA is asking all our members to write to their local MPs asking them to support an Early Day Motion which calls on the Government to implement a package of policies which will help secure the future of viable and well-run community pubs. I am glad to see that both Yvonne Fovargue and Lisa Nandy will be offering their full support.”

EDM 210 - That this House recognises the social, economic and cultural importance of well-run community pubs, which provide a safe and sociable environment for the consumption of alcohol among friends and are an essential community meeting place; notes the ideas put forward in the Campaign for Real Ale's Beer Drinkers and Pub Goers Charter which received support from 670 candidates at the last election, 150 of whom were elected; welcomes the genuine cross party consensus on the need to support and protect well-run community pubs; and so urges the Government to implement a package of policies which will help secure the future of viable and well-run community pubs.