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26th June 2024

BBPA responds Labour’s Plan for Pubs

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has welcomed the Labour Party’s commitment to safeguarding pubs across the UK. Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves unveiled a five-point plan to protect the local.

In response to Labour’s plan, the BBPA presents a series of targeted policy recommendations to support this plan and ensure our pubs and breweries not only survive but thrive.

  1. The BBPA supports Labour’s proposal to give communities a ‘right to buy’ local pubs at risk of calling last orders; addressing the root causes of pub closures can go a long way to ensuring that the heart of our communities keeps beating – or serving in this case. We want to see a Minister for Pubs appointed to ensure these assets are prioritised and to lead a task force that develops a sustainable tax and regulatory framework for pubs and the brewers that support them.
  2. The BBPA supports Labour’s plan to increase localised policing to curb anti-social behaviour, ensuring that pubs remain safe and welcoming environments. We implore the next government to recognise beer as a low-strength beverage and the growth of no and low alcohol beers as an example of industry innovation for those seeking to moderate their alcohol intake. We would like to see further support for sector schemes like Best Bar None and Pubwatch, creating a self-regulatory environment and expedited digital ID verification to stamp out underage drinking.
  3. Access to financial services is crucial in a modern economy and many pub customers still prefer to use cash when at their local, but local banking facilities are just one key element of revitalising our high streets and communities. We want the next Government to require that 100% of pub investment applications must be completed within current statutory guidelines or else automatic deemed consent is granted, and to make it easier for pubs and SMEs to access capital and enable the sustainable refinancing of any Covid debt.
  4. Business rates is consistently at the top of the list of concerns for pubs up and down the country. The current business rates burden for pubs is four times their share of business turnover. This disparity is exacerbated by the move to online retail – pubs are bricks and mortar businesses that cannot move online. The Government must extend the Retail Hospitality and Leisure relief for pubs until permanent reform is achieved. This relief is worth £12,000 per year to an average pub and has been a lifeline in recent years, but we need to see a more permanent solution in the form of a pub-specific multiplier.
  5. High energy prices and unscrupulous activity from energy providers has been an ongoing concern of the industry. The next Government must support Ofgem to fully implement any outstanding recommendations from their review of the non-domestic market including expanding access to the energy ombudsman service in the first parliamentary session and all pub businesses should be given access to this service. Support pubs in the transition to Net Zero by announcing an initial £10 million ringfenced package of support for pubs towards the upgrade of grid infrastructure/supply to install all-electric kitchens and EV charging points



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