That is the clear message from shadow pubs minister Toby Perkins, who was speaking exclusively to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser last week.
However, while Perkins said that Labour would be pushing for statutory regulation if it was in power now, he is willing to give the self-regulation deal a chance to work before making any firm commitments.
“We are probably a couple of years out from an election and so we are going through a manifesto process, and part of that manifesto process is introducing policies that are relevant to the situation as we find it at the time,” said Perkins.
“So for that reason there is no point us coming up with what we are going to do in 2015, when by 2015 the whole environment might be different.
“If it comes to 2015 and there is evidence that self-regulation has worked, I will take a lot of persuading,” he said. “We will make commitments in the manifesto when we know what the situation is a bit nearer the time, but that should possibly go as a warning to the pub companies that if they haven’t got their own house in order, we will be looking to put it in order for them.”
The Chesterfield MP admitted that licensees are currently suffering from all sides, but promised that the Labour Party will take the right action for pubs should it get into Government at the next general election.
“I recognise how tough the environment is for publicans at this moment of time, and making a living is difficult under these circumstances,” he said.
He added: “Pubs are always going to be more expensive than the off-trade, so there is always going to be a cost differential, but I do think that the level of cost does pose real challenges for pubs and all I would say is that I am sensitive to that.”