A new £1.5 million fund to help local people take control of pubs at risk of closure is being launched today (11 September 2015) by Community Pubs Minister, Marcus Jones.
The new ‘Pub Loan Fund’ will help community groups take over the running of their much-loved local, by providing small loans to start feasibility work, pay for lawyers’ fees or get materials for refurbishment.
This new fund builds on a number of measures introduced by the government to help support the Great British Pub, having already abolished the unpopular beer and alcohol duty escalators, cutting business taxes and giving communities a fairer chance to prepare to buy community buildings through Community Right to Bid.
Speaking at the Great British Pub Awards, Mr Jones said:
British pubs have always been at the heart local communities, with people getting together to enjoy good company and conversation over a pint of beer or glass of wine. But they also support thousands of jobs across all areas of the country, boosting the economy by £21 billion a year.
Now we’re giving our communities the chance to be at the heart of their local with the support they need to put their plans for running a pub into action.
Already, under community rights, local people can nominate any local building or land they love as an ‘asset of community value’ and then, if it comes up for sale, have 6 months to raise the funds to buy it. So far more than 800 pubs have been listed. Further details about the Pub Loan Fund will be announced in due course.
- between 2012 to 2016, we have provided £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
- 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 addressing 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
The Community Asset Register is part of Community Rights. 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 and football grounds.
Community Rights can help decide what is built, what it looks like and how local areas should develop. Groups also 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 also 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 buy it.
In March, coalition ministers also 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.
Find out more about how you can take over a local pub, shop or green space for the community.