Huppert calls for fairer deal for publicans at conference fringe

JLH_julian-in-pub.pngMP Julian Huppert shared a platform with Ministers and campaigners to press the need for a fairer deal for publicans at a Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference fringe event this weekend.

Julian has fought to prevent pubs closing in Cambridge and across the country by championing a campaign by the Campaign for Real Ale to close planning loopholes to protect pubs.

He proposed a Bill in Parliament asking for a change in the law to give planning authorities the power to prevent the change of use or demolition of a pub without planning permission.

His actions received the backing of CAMRA, the all-party parliamentary Save the Pub group; the Local Government Association; and a strong cross-party group of MPs.

On Sunday, October 5 he shared a platform with Stephen Williams, Localism and Community Rights Minister, Jo Swinson, Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs Minister and campaigners for the conference fringe event, Save Our Pubs.

Julian said: “We have lost more than 80 pubs in Cambridge in recent years with 20 alone closing between 2009 and 2012. Nationally, 12 pubs are closing a week resulting in a loss of around £80,000 to each local economy. 

“In Cambridge, our pub trade employs around 1,500 people. If we don’t act to stem the tide of pub closures, these are jobs that could be lost. That is not a risk I am prepared to take.

“The Lib Dems have been working hard in government to give our publicans the help and protection they need. We have seen the beer duty cut on two consecutive occasions and cider duty has also been cut. 

“We pushed the government to appoint a new pubs adjudicator to ensure that publicans tied into big pub companies are treated fairly and we will crackdown on those companies that squeeze publicans out of business with high rents and beer prices.   

“The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill is expected to become law in March 2015 setting out a statutory code of practice giving tied pubs the chance to request a rent review when beer prices rise significantly or their circumstances change. But I want to see the law go further giving tied pubs a mandatory free-of-tie option.

“Our pubs are a crucial part of the very fabric of our society. Not only are they a vital community resource, but many of the buildings are an integral part of our history; once lost they are gone forever.”