The Save the Pub Group, with the support of CAMRA, gives MPs help and guidance in support of campaigns against pub closures in their constituency, but mostly campaign on a number of key issues affecting pubs and beer.
Currently, the group are calling for:
- changes to planning law to properly recognise the importance of pubs to communities, and to better protect pubs faced with closure & redevelopment;
- a change in the law to outlaw the practice of restrictive covenants, whereby companies are selling pubs on the basis that they are prevented from being a pub, thus denying communities pubs simply to benefit the commercial interests of the company;
- local communities to have the right to buy pubs that are planned for closure, with improvements to the Localism Act provisions, and to support the Pub is the Hub scheme.
- reform of the current ‘beer tie’ model, as operated by some of the big pubcos, which makes it impossible for many licensees to make a living, and which leaves many pubs which could be successful if free of tie unviable.
- fairer levels of beer duty, scrapping the duty escalator and pushing for a lower duty on all draught ale and/or real ale, lobbying Europe to allow this;
- the Government and local authorities to do more to support community pubs including via taxation and rates, based on the community value of such pubs and for less complicated regulatory and licensing systems and frameworks;
- the Government to look at supermarket beer pricing, to stop below cost selling in the off trade and create a more level playing field between the on and off trade.
Mike Benner, National Chief Executive of the Campaign for Real Ale, reckons that "the Group is invaluable in helping to build Parliamentary support for CAMRA's key campaigns to protect pubs. I hope that CAMRA members up and down the country will encourage their MP to join the Group, and support their important work in protecting the future of Britain's valued community pubs." The Group ask you all to write to your local MP (who can be found at www.parliament.uk) and ask them to join the Group, to support its work, and to fight for pubs, brewers and beer-lovers across the country. Beyond that, the Group asks you to keep supporting your local CAMRA branch and keep visiting the many wonderful real-ale pubs!