Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Lib-Dem Pub Policy

I think I've missed a trick in this campaign. The other week a landlord in Warwick told me how much he liked our policies on pubs. This evening a landlord in Leamington asked me about them. Not that I have spent the entire campaign in the pub you understand, yet it seems having a quick read to refresh my memory I could have done a lot worse.

I especially like the part about relaxing the rules on Live Music and I think overall our policy to support this great British institution is spot on.

Liberal Democrats have a proud history of championing British heritage and tradition. We will address the issues facing pubs to enable them to compete with the offlicence alcohol trade to preserve these valuable social and community assets.

We will create a more equal playing field for pubs by preventing supermarkets from selling below-cost alcohol. Supermarkets and off-licences selling alcohol at pocket-money-prices have undercut the pub trade and contributed to the binge drinking culture. We will set up an independent panel to consider the evidence for a fuller scheme of minimum pricing for alcohol.

We will also reduce the burden of bureaucratic licensing requirements which prevents pubs from putting on live music events. We will re-introduce the “two in a bar’’ rule allowing two performers of unamplified music in any licensed premises without the need for an entertainment licence. We will also exempt small venues from the requirement to apply for a new licence if they want to host live music performances. However we will provide for a review if local residents object.

Local pubs often form the social hub of a community, strengthening local social networks as well as facilitating many local services, events and activities which contribute to local life. These can include: hosting a range of important public services such as running post offices, and general stores; and providing a place for local charities, sports clubs and civic groups to host meetings and activities. We believe that every effort should be made to keep local pubs open and that where pub companies are seeking to sell community pubs, the community and current lessee should have the opportunity to buy the business at a fair market price.

In addition we will address issues in planning legislation that make it difficult for communities to protect and preserve their pubs.

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