Tuesday, 10 March 2009

UKIP Steps Up Fight to Save the British Pub

The battle to save the traditional British pub is today (11.3.09) being stepped up by the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Already well known for speaking out against the slow extinction of the British pub, through a combination of the over taxing of beer and over zealous health and safety legislation, UKIP is using National No Smoking Day to start a ‘Save the Pub’ a petition, with its own website www.savethepub.co.uk which also features a major policy document ‘Pubs and Smoking’ that contains far reaching proposals aimed at keeping British pubs open.

David Campbell Bannerman, the Party’s Deputy Leader and Eastern Counties Lead Candidate in the forthcoming European Election as well as its policy director said: “There is nothing more traditionally British than the local pub but we are losing them at a rate of around 40 a week and they may be wiped out unless there is a major effort to save them. UKIP has a whole range of ideas for turning this situation around. Among other things, we would cut the duty on draught beers, real ale, cider and some lagers. We would introduce a Royal Commission to investigate beer pricing to sort out the current problems with wholesale prices which strongly disadvantage pubs.

“We would also cut business rates on community pubs and remove local authorities from the licensing process. Community pubs play a role in social cohesion through providing a comfortable environment for people to meet and talk. They are also a controlled drinking environment which offers a bulwark against the binge drinking problem.

“In regard to the smoking ban, we fully recognise its popularity in many parts of the community but UKIP would take a more flexible approach toward its enforcement in pubs, which would be allowed to have separate, contained and well ventilated smoking rooms as well as outside smoking areas using patio heaters. The EU ban on patio heaters is absurd as their impact on the environment is negligible and certainly not worth the loss of an important local amenity”.

To read the full UKIP policy: ‘Pubs and Smoking’ and to sign the Save the Pub petition, go to www.savethepub.co.uk UKIP will also be delivering special 'Save the Pub' beer mats to pubs all over the Eastern counties.