The Campaign for Pubs has published new demands for the incoming governement, in a new ’Manifesto for Pubs’.

The manifesto lists all the key policies needed support and save pubs, stop unnecessary closures and help publicans and small brewers get through the cost-of-living crisis. It calls for a transformative new approach to the UK pub sector, “to change the fortunes for pubs and give a better more sustainable future.”

Key policy proposals focus on much needed direct support for pubs and publicans. This includes an urgently needed energy cap for businesses. It also requires a complete overhaul of the business rates system which penalises many pubs.

The Campaign  is also urging candidates and the next Government to review the level of VAT for hospitality and review the option to implement Small Retailer’s Relief, changing the VAT system to introduce a progressive lower rate of VAT for small independent business, with supermarkets and large chains paying the full rate.

It is also asking for a change to planning law to stop the ”cynical buying and selling of pubs for development”, by introducing its Give Pubs Protection policy. It means that no established pub of at least 50 years old or more can be converted or demolished until and unless it has been openly marketed at the independently assessed value as a pub for at least a year. 

Additionally, a proposed meaningful Pubs Code and genuine Market Rent Only option would deal with ongoing abuse of the beer tie. ”Promises made to publicans and campaigners were broken when the Pubs Code legislation was diluted and neutered, denying thousands of tenants the right to go free-of-tie,” the organisation said. 

The Campaign for Pubs, which also represents many UK small brewers, is also calling for help to stop the raft of closures of small breweries. In addition to a much-needed energy cap, the Campaign wants to see a long-overdue Competition and Markets Authority review of the UK beer and pub sector, to deal with the anti-competitive dominance of giant brewers and pubcos.

Paul Crossman, Chair of the Campaign for Pubs and a publican in York said, “The Manifesto for Pubs lays out the key areas where the incoming UK Government must act to support and save pubs. This manifesto is written by publicans, pub experts and campaigners as well as small brewers, so it accurately reflects the real issues facing pubs and what is needed to support and save them.

“The entire policy approach to pubs needs to change after this general election. We now desperately need a government that is not in thrall to big business but instead places the emphasis where it needs to be, on supporting the dedicated small businesses that are the true wealth creators and innovators as well as being vital community hubs.

“We need a government that will act to end to the systematic corporate profiteering and wealth extraction that continues to afflict thousands of pubs across the UK, and that will put real planning protection in place to end the pillaging of our remaining precious national pub stock by rapacious developers whose only interest is a quick profit”.