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Help save our pubs

Comment 5th July 2010

A range of measures are required to help the pub trade. For example:

To allow breweries to own as many tied pubs as they like – the previous Tory govt 's steps to tackle the perceived lack of inter brewery competition has simply resulted in the rise of pub cos who are essentially property owners with no real interest in the trading profile of the pubs they own; often insisting they buy expensive drinks via them, to the detriment of trade, then when a pub closes, being more than happy to sell the premises for more lucrative re-development, e.g. housing. In rural areas this often strips a community of its only facility.

To allow pubs to serve alcohol to people aged 16 and 17, [possibly with a max %age alcohol level] thus reducing their need to buy cheap [shop sold] alcohol and consume it unregulated on the streets.

Reducing tax on alcoholic drinks sold and consumed in licensed premises – perhaps increasing it [to compensate] for sales via retail outlets.

To allow pubs some leeway to have indoor smokers areas, e.g. in pubs that either don't serve food or have a physical separation of eating/non eating areas and subject to proviso that staff  agree to work in such areas. Failing that why not permit an enclosed [unstaffed] smoking 'shed', etc, outside – to help contain warmth [think of all those gas patio heaters being used and their related co2 emissions !] and any noise that might disturb nearby residents.

To re-introduce restricted pub opening hours, partly  to cut down disturbance to nearby residents beyond a certain reasonable nightime hour and also avoid pubs having to be open [and staffed] for long hours with minimal trade throughout much of them – just because they are worried another pub may take the few customers available ?

Why does this matter?

Action is required to help save pubs, which provide a safe and largely self regulating environment for responsible drinking/behaviour, and one that in rural areas is often the only community/tourist facility.

The licensing act has not enouraged a European 'cafe culture', simply long opening hours for many pubs with minimal trade [partly due to high prices over which they have insufficient control], and in town centres has led to most pubs becoming rowdy late night music bars[to help survive by catering for the only customer market segment with large disposable incomes – young adults] and which create disurbance for residents and others nearby – often exacerbated here, and at other pubs, by smokers/drinkers having to go outside.

Drunkeness [and resultant anti social behaviour] is likely to reduce if young people [who will almost inevitably seek and obtain drink] are able to do so in a regulated premises where a licensee can be held responsible for serving to excess. In many rural areas there are no accessible facilities which 16/17 years olds can go to/use – resulting in them roaming the locality – often looking for trouble.

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