Community pubs minister Bob Neill has urged the industry to focus lobbying on changes that will not cost the Government money to push through — such as a further reduction in red tape. Speaking exclusively to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, sister title to M&C Report, Neill said the industry must understand the pressures on the Government as a result of the national deficit. The advice is a blow to hopes of securing a duty or VAT decrease in the next year. But he said the industry must keep talking to politicians. Neill said: “Let’s look at areas where we can make sure that it’s not just a question of money. There are other obstacles and barriers, some of the bureaucratic things, where there is a lot of tick-boxing you have to go through at a local level. “That’s the sort of stuff that doesn’t cost money to take out that actually makes margins easier, and helps make profitability better.” He added: “I think the Government does listen [to the trade] but I think the trade will understand that there are quite a number of conflicting pressures. “We’re a Government that has inherited a record deficit. We have to reduce the deficit and that has involved cutting public spending, but also maintaining an appropriate level of income.” The Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst said his role as community pubs minister is as a “catalyst” between the trade and other ministers. “It is unusual that there is a minister for a particular sector at all. A lot of what we can tactically achieve isn’t necessarily about people going around as ministers with a big stick. “It’s talking to colleagues — to ministerial colleagues, to other external colleagues, to make sure there is a straightforward channel of communication. And it’s somebody who can be a bit of a catalyst for the scene. “So it’s not the formal powers of a role sometimes, it’s what you make of it and the way in which all of us work together towards those things that are practical and deliverable.”