Posted: Monday, 8 February 2010 @ 10:39
Just breaking is news that the government have appointed John Healey MP as minister for pubs, a new role designed to head up a task force to save the traditional british pub which are closing now at the rate of 39 a week (52 a week a year ago) according to the British Beer and Pub Association.
Perhaps the government have woken up to the fact that the agency responsible for the licensed sector, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, and the Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, have effectively been neutered over the past few years by a relentless onslaught against the industry by the Home Office, who have been responsible for an endless streem of consultations and explosion of red tape.
I suppose that John Healey and his team will be tasked with mediation between the opposing agendas of the DCMS and Home Office, and coming up with initiatives to relieve the relentless burden on pubs. The forthcomimg business rates and tax and national insurance increases will only add more pressure on pubs at a time when disposable income is already at a low level. Rumoured to be on the list of possibilities for beleaguered pubs are tax breaks and a right to buy from landlord when faced with closure.
I am sure the appointment is most welcome, but so close to an election critics may say that it is vote motivated and unlikely to have any impact in what will be very stormy waters ahead whichever party is elected.
Licensing Law Specialist
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