I have been contacted by many constituents recently about protecting pubs, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.
Pubs are at the heart of the UK’s communities and play an important role in the national economy.
I am deeply concerned that pubs continue to be under severe threat and I believe that we must do what we can to support them.
The pub sector supports 900,000 jobs, generates £23 billion in economic value and provides £13 billion in tax revenues.
In addition, I know that 30 million adults visit the pub every month.
In the Budget the Government announced that there would be one-third off business rates for all retail premises up to a rateable value of £51,000 in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
However, I am concerned that this represents only a temporary respite, rather than long-term support.
I believe that we need a proper root-and-branch review of business rates to support local pubs.
I am also in favour of making re-valuations annual to stop businesses facing unmanageable increases.
I agree with a national campaign that calls for the Government to carry out a proper review of the pubs code and the operation of the adjudicator.
I also believe that it would be sensible for the Government to look at the whole framework for alcohol duties.
Moving forward, I hope the Government will conduct a full review of pub closures in the UK and develop a pubs strategy to secure a sustainable future for the industry.
I believe we should also give communities more power to shape their town centres, including by strengthening powers to protect pubs.
I will continue to press the Government on this important issue at every opportunity as our societies cannot afford to keep on losing pubs at the rate they are.