As an ex Publican I saw first hand the destruction of a once thriving industry. I lay 90% of the blame at the feet of the Smoking Ban. To this end I have a solution.

All pubs, bars, restaurants and anywhere that serves alcohol has to, by law, have a premises licence to trade alcohol. My solution to the smoking ban would be to do the same thing – licence it! The government could use it as a stick to beat the industry with in terms of tax generation, however that would be offset by the turnover that would undoubtedly be increased.

With the licensing would obviously come restrictions; pubs and restaurants with x% turnover on food (say for instance a pub with a 50/50 split on food against drink) would not be eligable for the licence. The scheme in my mind would be for the pubs with the greatest dangers – the drinkers pubs, or the pubs with kitchens too small to give a suitable food offering. Also, the requirements would have to mean that pubs taking part would have to have a set standard of air filtration and extraction, which would again mean investment. However, with the proposition of bringing supermarket alcohol prices in line with the rest of the industry it would offer a greater level of choice.

All my idea is, is a chance to give a bit of choice back to people, there wouldn't be a requirement for every pub to take this on as a compulsory measure, indeed, if pubs felt they were better off catering to the non smoking community then there would be no requirement for it. However, many of the smaller, drinkers pubs have found serious hardship and difficulty in maintaining revenue due to the lack of choice afforded to a large percentage of customers.

Why is this idea important?

To give the pub industry the shot in the arm that it has so desperately needed over the past 3 years. It also appears necessary given the lack of choice and the lack of freedom of choice that is afforded to smokers, and the industry alike. The costings of the licence and the potential upgrading of facilities would be offset by the larger revenues.

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