I wrote to the Chancellor highlighting concerns from my constituents about the negative affects Beer duty has on the beer and pub sectors. I also signed the 'save our local' campaign. I was pleased that the Chancellor froze beer duty and is addressing business rates.
The Conservatives in Government have taken significant steps in reversing the damage that the previous Labour Government did to the pub and beer sector. However, more need to be done to reduce the number of pubs closing across the UK.
I am a member of the all party parliamentary group on beer and have supported CAMRA campaigns such as the 'keep pubs afloat campaign'.
I recognise the important contribution that pubs make to their local communities, and I welcome the Government's efforts to support this.
Through the Asset of Community Value scheme, communities can list facilities of local importance, including pubs. This means that if a pub owner wishes to sell, the community has six months to come up with a plan and funding in order to try to save it. I am glad that there are now around 2,000 pubs across England listed as assets of community value.
I am pleased that the £3.6 million 'More than a Pub: The Community Business Support Programme', launched in March 2016, is helping to support communities across England to own their local pub. On top of this, the Government continues to support the work of the Pub is The Hub initiative to help landlords diversify and provide essential services, such as village shops and post offices, in order to improve the sustainability of their pub.
To further support pubs, the Chancellor's announced in the Autumn Budget 2017 a freeze on all alcohol duties for 2018, a decision which I welcomed. The Spring Budget 2017 also provided a £1,000 discount on business rates bills in 2017 for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 - 90 per cent of pubs in England - and I was pleased to see this extended in the Autumn Budget for a further year, through to March 2019.
Tied pubs will have new rights and protections under the Pubs Code and an independent Adjudicator which will be set up to help ensure tied tenants are treated fairly by pub companies and are no worse off than free-of-tie publicans, a principle I support firmly. The protections of the Pubs Code, including the MRO will apply to those tied tenants of the six pub companies which own 500 or more tied pubs. Tied pubs will benefit from increased transparency, fair treatment and the right to request a rent review if they have not had one for five years.