Too many local pubs are closing down, but in the communities that love them, there is action we can take.
It's often remarked that local shops and pubs are an important part of the identities of our communities. But this is so often said in a sad way, as if we have accepted defeat and are just waiting for the inevitable final shift to the internet and out of town supermarkets and the accompanying loss of community involvement with what we buy and where we buy it.
It's my view that far from cutting people off from their communities, in many ways the arrival of mass internet shopping from big soulless, but cheap, warehouses on-line has thrown into sharp focus the things that we used to take for granted in our local villages and high street. It's important now that we value the community assets we still have. When you shop locally, you may know the person behind the counter - or at least recognise them. You are more likely to know - and care - about the provenance of the goods you buy because they have a local connection, a supply chain that is meaningful.
It's not just about shops. Around 18 pubs close each week in the UK. For some time now, the PubCo problem, beer price escalator and availability of cheap alcohol from the supermarket made it look like the local pub was going to be a thing of the past.
Fortunately we’ve seen the end of the beer price escalator in this year's budget as a result of Liberal Democrat action and there is real support for an alcohol tax to keep the supermarkets in check.
To tackle the PubCo issue, the Lib Dems in government have also announced a new statutory code of practice for PubCos which should end the discrimination against "tied in" landlords who are currently been squeezed out of the market.
But the biggest impact of all will come down to people power. We must remind Local Authorities how valuable local pubs are. Communities can petition for a pub to be granted special "community asset" status, in recognition of the positive role that responsible pubs play in society - bringing people together in a community hub.
That is why I support the LIST YOUR LOCAL campaign by the Campaign for Real Ale. Why not visit their website and list YOUR local today?