Pubs are at the heart of the UK’s communities and play an important role in the national economy.
Indeed, I am aware that the pub sector supports 900,000 jobs, generates £23 billion in economic value and provides £13 billion in tax revenues.
In addition, 30 million adults visit the pub every month.
Pubs continue to be under severe threat and we must do what we can to support them.
Pubs face a range of tax pressures, including beer duty, business rates, and VAT.
In the 2018 Budget the Chancellor confirmed that duty rates on beer, cider and spirits would remain frozen.
I know that this announcement was welcomed by many stakeholders in the pub sector, including the Long Live the Local campaign.
However, there is no suggestion that these duty freezes will necessarily continue in future.
I believe that the current system for alcohol duties is not clear and the way in which we tax alcohol does not necessarily correct its social costs.
I, therefore, think that it would be sensible for the Government to look at the whole framework for alcohol duties.
At the last election, I stood on a manifesto that committed to set up a national review of local pubs to examine the causes for their decline, as well as establishing a joint taskforce that will consider their future sustainability.
I also pledged to give communities more power to shape their town centres, including by strengthening powers to protect pubs.
They are an essential feature of national life and I am committed to giving pubs the support necessary to thrive and grow.