If you’re one of the millions having a post-work pint tonight, you’ll be well aware at the increasing number of local pubs calling last orders for good, with around 27 allegedly closing each week.
It’s not all doom and gloom though as British pubs are fighting back – so get a round in and raise a toast to your local with Paul Ainsworth, Chair of Pub Campaigning (CAMRA), who talks about and future of the Great British boozer.
Q:Why are pubs so important to British culture?
A:They play a vital part in many people’s social lives, providing a place to meet and socialise and feel part of a community - even if you’re just sitting in the corner reading the paper rather than joining in the conversation at the bar. How many people have celebrated a wedding in a pub? Marked the arrival of a new baby with friends at the bar? Or made a new colleague feel welcome with a pint?
Q:What do they bring to local communities?
A:In many areas and villages they provide the last remaining public meeting space, with meeting halls and post offices already lost. They also create jobs and bring money into a local area which then tends to be spent in that local area.
Q:If pubs are so important to us, why are they struggling?
A:Pubs play a vital part in many people’s social lives, providing a place to meet and socialise and feel part of a community. Yet they are under a huge number of threats. From high taxes and business rates to weak planning laws, pubs are often a soft target for property developers who can make a quick profit turning a pub into a supermarket or housing.
Q:And what is the Government doing to help?
A:CAMRA is delighted to announce that after years of campaigning the Government has agreed to support measures to better protect pubs through the planning system. A current planning loophole which gives developer a free reign over demolishing or converting pubs will soon be closed, which will give local communities a greater say over their beloved pub’s future. We welcome the Government’s decision, which will ultimately help to stem the number of pub closures across the country.
To find out more information about the Campaign for Real Ale visit www.camra.org.uk.