Help for pubs comes not a moment too soon

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Robin Meltzer, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Richmond Park and North Kingston has welcomed two new measures to help sustain local community pubs, announced by Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government.

In February, at a meeting in the Willoughby Arms in Kingston, Robin invited Jo Swinson, Minster for Consumer Affairs (pictured here pulling a pint with landlord Rick Robinson) to hear from local publicans and the local branch of Campaign for Real Ale about the challenges facing the industry.

In April, Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government announced a new statutory code of practice for pub owning companies. Robin said:

“Large companies take more than is fair from pub profits. This has made it difficult or impossible for many landlords to make a living and is causing neighbourhood pubs to close down. The overcharging takes the form of both hugely inflated beer prices and excessive rents.

“The code of practice which has been announced, and details of which are under consultation, should prevent pub landlords who are tied into a ‘pubco’ being worse off than a free of tie landlord.”

Robin has also welcomed the abolition of the ‘beer-price escalator’ which penalised responsible drinkers in pubs with year on year increases that did not apply to other drinks.

“The beer price escalator seemed to be designed to single out those who enjoy a pint - which was a ridiculous situation when we should be celebrating and supporting our ale industry.

"We have lost an alarming number of pubs, particularly in this part of Kingston," said Robin. "Responsibly run pubs provide a community function and these two announcements will help to sustain them,”