Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Backing local pubs in Parliament

Backing local pubs in Parliament

Today I joined Labour colleagues in Parliament in backing local pubs across Britain by voting to introduce a new code to support small landlords and give consumers greater choice.

An estimated 26 pubs are closing each week in Britain and the large chains of pub companies (PubCos) have been accused of giving landlords a raw deal, with many paying over the odds for their alcoholic products.

Labour today dragged ministers to the House of Commons in an Opposition Day debate to demand that the Government introduces legislation in this year's Queen's Speech to support local pubs.

Legislation is required to introduce a statutory code protecting small landlords and ensuring they are no longer exploited in their relationship with pub companies.

As campaigners have demanded, the code must include a free-of-tie option, open market rent reviews and an independent pubs adjudicator. This would give every landlord the choice to go free-of-tie, allowing licencees to operate in a more competitive market.

A statutory code is being supported by a broad coalition including the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the Federation of Small Businesses and trade unions.

Pubs are vital hubs for communities in Haslingden and Hyndburn and are valued strongly by local people, but due to the Tory-led government's inaction and broken promises on backing small landlords, they are closing at an ever-increasing rate.

This costs jobs, especially for young people, and hits the local economy by an average of £80,000 each time a pub shuts.

We need to back our local pubs. That's why, a year after ministers promised action on this issue which still hasn't materialised, I voted again for a statutory code to be put in place, including a non-tied option for publicans.

It's time for the Tories to take real action to support small landlords otherwise our area risks losing more pubs, and more jobs.


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