"John Healey, Minister for Pubs has announced a major package of reforms to support pubs. The Government's new 12-point action plan promises sweeping reforms on a wide variety of subjects. To support community pubs, the Government has announced:
- Greater protection for pubs under threat of demolition
- A ban on the anti-competitive practice of imposing restrictive covenants on the sale of pubs
- Greater flexibility for pubs to diversify by adding shops and other facilities without planning permission
- £1 million Government funding for Pub is The Hub
- £3 million to support Community pub ownership
- Greater freedom for pubs to host live music without a specific licence
- A one-year deadline to fully implement the recommendations of the recent Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report on Pub Companies - before the government intervenes with legislation if necessary - and deliver a beer right and a free of tie option for tied tenants.
- The proposals have the potential to totally transform the UK pubs market leading to a free, fair and competitive market where consumers will benefit through greater choice, improved amenity and lower prices.
I've no doubt that for some people this will not be enough (while for the anti-drink brigade it will be too much), but if implemented, this represents the first time in decades that a Government has proposed measures to support the pub rather than attack it. From my point of view, the music licence provision will be very welcome: it's nonsense that me strumming an unamplified acoustic guitar in a pub can be illegal, while big screen sports with all the noise they create from both the TV and the audience are completely unrestricted. If you want to lobby your Parliamentary candidates on line, click here, then click on 'lobby your election candidates'. It takes only a minute or two and will help persuade them there are votes in this issue. It's a CAMRA website, but you don't have to be a member.