Other areas of concern

Related tags Conservatism

Smoking The party wants a self-regulatory approach, agreed with the industry. Conservative industry spokesman Stephen O'Brien says: "Within the time...


The party wants a self-regulatory approach, agreed with the industry. Conservative industry spokesman Stephen O'Brien says: "Within the time needed to implement legislation, the industry could and would deliver a voluntary code, removing smoking from up to 80% of pub space."

PFR: 8/10. A sensible policy, although, of course, it could cause problems for traditional drinking dens. What if they don't ­ or can't ­ comply?

Minimum wage

A Tory government would implement the changes recently announced by the Government, "which are consistent with rises in average earnings". O'Brien adds: "However, we share the pub operator's concerns that excessive rises could have a damaging effect."

PFR: 6/10. Seems logical, but the party is non-committal on the details of future policy.

Business rates

The Conservatives pledge to cut taxes by £4bn in its first budget, but they give no firm commitment to reform business rates. The party is considering reform of a range of taxes affecting small business, and tax cuts are to be announced "in due course". O'Brien says they would "avoid Labour's third-term tax rises", which independent economic experts predict "must occur".

PFR: 6/10. Some promising noises, but a lack of detail on specific plans to cut taxes is a cause for concern.

Red tape

"Deregulation minister John Redwood and I are working on a package of measures to be introduced within the first year of a Conservative government," says O'Brien. The party has pledged to abolish the "complicated and costly" regulations on statutory dismissal procedures.

PFR: 6/10. The promises made so far are encouraging. But crucial detail is lacking. Why hasn't this been worked out before the election?

Tax on Alcohol

No change. "We have no plans to change the level of taxation on alcohol that we will inherit from Labour," said a Tory spokesman.

PFR: 2/10. Some pubs are being forced to slap as much as 10p on a pint, partly as a result of the tax hikes in last month's budget. The trend can't continue and for the Tories to follow the Labour line is a cause for concern.


Nothing at all. A Tory spokesman said: "I can confirm that there are no plans with regards to the broadcasting of sport in pubs."

PFR: 0/10. This will come as no comfort to licensees who have seen Sky subscriptions rocket. Sky's position needs to be monitored continually and government of any hue must recognise this.

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