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Pledge of national pub review confirmed followed leaked Labour manifesto

Published:  17 May, 2017

Members of the pub trade have welcomed the news that the need for a national review to determine the future of local pubs has been included in the Labour Party’s 2017 election manifesto.

As well re-introducing the 50p rate of tax on the highest earners (above £123,000), Labour also wants to devote resources to the long-suffering UK pub sector.

In a two-line pledge, the Labour manifesto reads: “We will set up a national review of local pubs to examine the causes for their large-scale demise, as well as establishing a joint taskforce that will consider future sustainability.”

The promise of a probe into the future of pubs was leaked last week ahead of its official release and reported in the national press.

Its inclusion in the manifesto was then confirmed yesterday, appearing under the header “local communicates”.

Today, the Society of Independent Brewers’ (SIBA) managing director Mike Benner welcomed the pledge, stating: “Pubs are a force for good as centres of community life and the home of responsible drinking. It is essential that the next government acts to support the British beer and pubs industry. We hope other parties will demonstrate support for pubs and beer in their manifestoes.”

Alongside the promise to look at future sustainability, reforms to the way business rates are calculated were also floated.

This includes switching from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), while reviewing the entire business rates system in the longer run.

However, some were less than enthusiastic about Labour’s promises.

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall branded the pledge for a joint taskforce “an empty gesture”, pointing to what he believes as conflicting moves by the government to protect pubs.

“Whilst guaranteeing to list all pubs as assets of community value to help stop them being sold off to supermarket chains and the like is laudable, when combined with a refusal to rule out a rise in beer duty it is nothing but an empty gesture.

“Protecting pubs from becoming supermarkets, while at the same time reinforcing the supermarkets’ ability to undercut pub prices is fantasy economics, and a cruel fantasy at that,” he said.

NB: The Liberal Democrats also recognised the importance of pubs to rural communities alongside other community facilities such as schools, public transport, local shops and cultural venues in their 2017 manifesto. 

Their manifesto was released this afternoon (May 17).