Daily Telegraph columnist Simon Heffer has accused the Labour government of choking the life out of Britain’s pubs. He points out that six are closing every day while people drink their cheap supermarket lager at home. Pubs, says Heffer, are vital to a coherent community, especially in rural areas. They also encourage civilised behaviour in people who might not otherwise learn it. High taxes, the smoking ban, the minimum wage, business rates and other expensive and excessive regulations have “effectively done for the local”. Heffer says Gordon Brown has for years sucked up to Scotland’s whisky industry by keeping down duty on spirits. It’s time, he adds, that the Prime Minister did something similar for the English boozer. The Daily Telegraph 13/09/08 page 28