Glasses are being raised across the country today (23 March 2015) to toast the first-ever Community Pubs Day with ministers announcing a package of measures designed to bolster the Great British Pub and protect it for future generations.
Just days after the Chancellor announced a third consecutive cut in beer duty, the government revealed new regulations had been laid giving communities an even greater say in the planning process to protect valuable local pubs. Extra government funding has also been announced which will be pumped into schemes to support community ownership of valuable public houses.
Ministers have called on people across the country to mark the day by ‘listing their local’ as an asset of community value so it too can be afforded extra protection.
So far more than 600 pubs have been registered as an asset of community value and campaigners have pledged to triple that number this year alone to take advantage of this change in the law so that pubs which play a crucial role at the heart of communities can remain a social hub for future generations.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced a ‘community asset certificate’ which is available to every listed local - and any other listed asset - to hang behind the bar, giving landlords the chance to celebrate the fact their pub is prized so highly by those who matter the most, the patrons.
Visiting the Wheatsheaf pub in Wandsworth, Community Pubs Minister Kris Hopkins said:
Hot on the heels of this government’s hat trick of beer duty cuts I am delighted to raise a glass to the Great British Pub and all those communities who have worked so hard to make our locals an integral part of our lives.
The Great British pint might have just got a penny cheaper but I can tell you now, having visited breweries and pubs across the land to see first hand the innovation underway in this great sector, that our beer has never tasted better.
A lot of hard work has been put in by communities to protect their beloved pubs from sell-off and many more could be afforded this protection which is why we are calling on people to celebrate the first-ever Community Pubs Day by considering whether they might want to list their local.
Speaking at the Ivy House pub in Southwark, Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:
Our pub protections mean that communities can use community rights to keep the amber nectar flowing. We’re now also extending funding to the community shares unit so that local groups have a round on us and access advice and guidance they need to buy their treasured asset and prevent developers calling time on their much-loved local.
But don’t stop at just listing your local. Protect all your precious places by listing them as an Asset of Community Value – from parks and piers, to shops and stadiums – and get involved with the community rights revolution.
Ministers announced more than £200,000 of funding for the Community Shares Unit, managed by Co-operatives UK. This supports local groups to use community shares as a way of financing projects such as the takeover of pubs, with more than £50 million raised in equity over the past 3 years. Next year they aim to support the emergence of a further 150 new social ventures.
The department will also be making available a further £100,000 in an initiative set up by Pub is The Hub which is helping landlords diversify and provide essential services for their local communities, such as village shops and post offices. This comes on top of £170,000 of funding previously announced for Pub is the Hub bringing total government support to £270,000.
The government’s new Community Ownership and Management of Assets programme run by Locality will go live on 1 April 2015 after which you can visit www.mycommunity.org.uk for more details on accessing resources, advice, grants and the network and how to apply for the programmes.
The Community Rights are a set of powers which give local people more control over their communities. They can help local communities save local shops, pubs, libraries, parks, football grounds. The Community Rights can help decide what is built, what it looks like and how local areas should develop. Plus groups have the chance to deliver local services and develop them into community enterprises.
The Community Right to Bid, which came into effect on 21 September 2012, gives community groups a fairer chance to prepare and bid to buy community buildings and facilities that are important to them. Communities can nominate any local building or land they love as an ‘asset of community value’ and then, if it comes up for sale, they have 6 months to raise the funds to bid to buy it.
All listed assets of community value can now apply for a certificate from the department to celebrate their ‘ACV’ status. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The Community Right to Bid gives communities a fairer chance to bid to take over local assets of community value, including pubs. This government has funded a £19 million support programme to help eligible community organisations to take on the community ownership and management of assets that are important to them, including pubs. According to the Campaign for Real Ale, over 600 pubs have so far been listed as community assets.
What we are doing
The government has responded to the call from communities to give them more say in the proposed change of use of those pubs that provide the most community benefit.
National permitted development rights are an important part of the planning system; providing flexibility, reducing bureaucracy and allowing the best use to be made of existing buildings. Existing permitted development rights allow the change of use of a pub to, for example, a restaurant, bank or building society, or a shop, or to be demolished.
From 6 April, in England, the nomination or listing of a pub as an asset of community value triggers the disapplication of the national permitted development rights for the change of use or demolition for the period of listing.
This will mean that in future where a pub is nominated or listed as an asset of community value, a planning application will be required for the change of use or demolition of a pub. This provides an opportunity for local people to comment, and enables the local planning authority to determine the application in accordance with its local plan, any neighbourhood plan, national policy and any other material considerations. The local planning authority may take the listing into account as a material consideration when determining any planning application.
we are providing £350,000 to Pub is The Hub and the Plunkett Foundation to help pubs to provide a wide range of community-focussed services and facilities and to help local residents buy and run co-operative pubs
the National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that to deliver the social, recreational and cultural facilities that communities need, planning policies and decisions should provide for the use of such facilities, including pubs, and guard against their unnecessary loss
- we are assisting firms with business rates: the Localism Act helps make small business rate relief easier to claim
- we have doubled small business rate relief scheme from October 2010 to March 2016
- and we have given councils powers to levy discretionary business rate discounts which could, for example, be used to support local community pubs
a further centrally-funded business rate discount for pubs (and restaurants and shops) has been introduced worth £1,000 in 2014 to 2015 and £1,500 in 2015 to 2016 for premises with rateable values of up to £50,000
the government has scrapped the last administration’s plans for a 10% rise in cider duties (the so-called cider tax)
we have cut duty on beer by 1p, and scrapped the beer duty escalator which would have further increased beer duty every year - as of March 2014, beer is 8p a pint cheaper as a result
pubs have benefited from the greater flexibility on weights and measures, allowing beer and wine to be sold in different sizes than was previously allowed by regulations
we are supporting landlords leasing their pubs from pub companies through the introduction of a statutory code of practice to govern the relationship between pub-owning companies and their tied tenants, with an independent adjudicator to enforce the code
the Live Music Act 2012 has made it easier for pubs to play live music
we are tackling unfair competition and loss-leading of alcohol by some retailers, without adversely affecting the price of a pint in a pub
as part of the ‘focus on enforcement of regulation’ initiative launched in July 2012, we have sought to reduce over-zealous regulation of pubs
new guidance issue by the CCTV Commissioner has sought to stop the blanket imposition of CCTV in all pubs, irrespective of how well they are run
pubs are among the businesses which have benefited from our exemption of unnecessary health and safety inspections
- changes in corporation tax and national insurance (abolishing NI contributions for under-21s earning less than £813 per week from April 2015, and making it cheaper to employ people on incomes below £21,000) will benefit the pubs sector, which employs large numbers of young people