Sunday, 23 November 2014

Save Our Pubs

Clive Jones with Greg Mulholland,
 Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds West.
Clive Jones, Liberal Democrat prospective Parliamentary candidate for Wokingham is backing a move to change the law and give publicans renting from big pub chains a fairer deal.

He wants a new clause written into the Small Business Bill which would stop large pub companies charging hugely inflated prices and excessive rents to their tenants.

The clause, promoted by the campaign group Fair Deal for Your Local, would mean publicans tied by companies which own more than 500 pubs across the country could opt for a rental only deal. This would allow them to buy beer on the open market.

“Our pubs are failing and closing down because publicans are being held to ransom by the big pubcos,” said Clive Jones. They are charged excessive rents and high beer prices which leaves some effectively being paid less than the minimum wage.

“Changing the law gives our local pubs a fighting chance. It stops large companies taking advantage and puts the tied licensee on a fairer playing field with the free of tied licensee. Liberal Democrats support this change.

“In Wokingham and the surrounding area, we have lost so many pubs in the last 10 years, including the Maiden Over in Earley in September this year. These are not just vitally important businesses employing people but they are integral parts of our community and once they are lost they are gone forever."

"Along with CAMRA and some local residents I tried to stop the Maiden Over becoming a Tesco convenience store".

The Fair Deal for Your Local campaign is backed by 10 organisations, including CAMRA, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum for Private Business, trade unions and licensees organisations.

Gareth Epps, Public Affairs Officer for Reading & Mid-Berks CAMRA said: “CAMRA is very pleased that Clive supports this amendment supported by MPs across parties, which calls for a vitally important change to improve the relationship between pub-owning companies and their tenants.
“Allowing pub tenants to choose the best deal for them will put huge commercial pressure on the large pub companies to make their beer prices competitive. This would benefit some 15,000 pubs, create jobs, help pub tenants make a living, help keep pubs open and help keep the cost of a pint to consumers affordable.

"It would help save many pubs from the fate of those good pubs that have closed.”

A vote on the amendment is due on Tuesday, November 18.