Top MP will rally to funding cause

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Related tags: National pubwatch, Democracy, Bradford, Gerry sutcliffe

by Mike Bennett National Pubwatch has pulled off a major coup with the news that a key Government figure is to join its co-ordinating committee....

by Mike Bennett National Pubwatch has pulled off a major coup with the news that a key Government figure is to join its co-ordinating committee. Labour whip Gerry Sutcliffe, the most senior politician ever to offer his services to the movement, has pledged to press the case for official Whitehall funding for the cash-strapped organisation. He told committee members: "I am happy to act as a liaison person and to bring any skills I possess to smooth the way in Parliament." Sutcliffe has represented the Bradford South constit- uency since 1992. "I'm delighted that Gerry has agreed to join us," commented National Pubwatch chairman Raoul de Vaux. "I have known him pretty much since he first became an MP and he will be a real asset to us. "With his support, we are hopeful we might get Home Office or National Lottery funding in some form or other. We are certainly investigating the possibility." Sutcliffe joins Liberal Democrat peer Lord Redesdale on what is becoming an increasingly heavyweight committee. It also now includes Greene King Pub Co's head of security, Bruce Thomas, and former Metropolitan Police drugs squad co-ordinator Paul Wotton. De Vaux added: "We really must secure our financial future by whatever means we can. We want to become more independent of, and less reliant on, the industry while still playing our full part in it." National Pubwatch has, ironically, become something of a victim of its own success. As interest has grown and new local Pubwatch schemes launched, so administrative costs have risen. But companies like Unique ­ which operates a dedicated website for the organisation ­ Greene King and Laurel have made significant contributions, as has the British Institute of Innkeeping. The Morning Advertiser has supported National Pubwatch since its inception, and, under Laurel's sponsorship, is to feature the Pubwatch Award for Social Responsibility at its annual awards ceremony on 29 January. The award was won last year by veteran licensee Mike Howard, who runs the Crawley scheme in West Sussex.

Related topics: Legislation

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