I am a personal supporter of CAMRA and have met their members and representatives on a number of occasions. I am also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Real Ale.
I agree that pubs play a crucial role at the heart of the community. That is why I am glad that action has already been taken to support them so that they can serve their communities for generations to come.
The Government has launched a new £1.5 million Pub Loan Fund to enable local communities to take control of pubs at risk of closure. Local people will be able to apply for small loans to help restore their pub, to help pay for feasibility work or lawyers' fees.
£350,000 has also been provided to 'Pub is The Hub' and the Plunkett Foundation to help local residents buy and run pubs and to enable pubs to provide community services.
The introduction of a national list of Assets of Community of Value has also seen many pubs protected from redevelopment. Communities are able to nominate any pub as an Asset of Community Value and if it then comes up for sale, the community then has 6 months to raise the necessary funds to bid to buy it. Over 800 pubs have been listed in this way.
The last Labour Government's planned 10 per cent tax rise on cider has also been scrapped and the beer duty escalator has been removed altogether. The duty on beer has been cut by 1 per cent and I welcome the fact that beer is now 8p cheaper. The introduction of the Live Music Act, also makes it easier for pubs to play live music.
I have been informed that the Prime Minister is aware of this campaign.
I must inform you that I do not sign EDMs, but will continue to work in Parliament and in the constituency to support our local public houses.