With British Pubs Week just over a month away, Bob Neill met publicans and punters to celebrate all that is great about the ‘British local’ and to discuss how to make this year’s pubs week the best yet.
At the countdown launch, at the award winning Black Dog in London, Mr Neill told patrons he was keen to see the role of the ‘local’ recognised not just as a place to grab a swift pint but as an important social and economic hub in communities across the country.
British Pubs week, which kicks off on 28 October, will see hundreds of pubs across the country inviting customers old and new to join them for a week of special events, special offers and special experiences all celebrating the role of the ‘local’ in the community.
Community Pubs Minister Bob Neill said:
“Pubs are part of the fabric of local life - they are not just a place to meet friends over a pint but an important source of enterprise, business and community action. I think British Pubs Week can be another opportunity to recognise the unique contribution that pubs make to the communities they serve every week.
“The government is committed to seeing a pubs community hub role continue, which is why we are helping with business rates, reviewing restrictive red tape, stopping unfair supermarket sales of below cost-price by alcohol and giving communities the power to step in and preserve their favourite locals.”
The government has introduced a number of measures to support thriving community pubs:
- through the Community Right to Buy, the department is giving residents the power to save struggling local pubs by taking them over rather than seeing them empty and derelict
- the department has launched a review of restrictive covenants, a clause that can be used in the sale of a building that restricts the use by new owners
- the government has introduced a more generous small business rate relief scheme, to help half a million small firms; for 2 years from October 2010, small firms will receive 100% rate relief (ie pay no business rates at all) on properties up to £6,000 Rateable Value, and a tapered rate relief from £6,000 to £12,000; an estimated 330,000 no small firms will pay no rates at all
- the government is also giving local councils new powers via the Localism Bill to introduce local business rate discounts
- plans have been announced for cutting the red tape that makes it difficult for pubs to provide live music
- the government has also abolished the cider tax and is stopping unfair sales of alcohol below cost-price by supermarkets