A senior MP has been appointed as the first Minister for Pubs in a bid to provide support to the industry
Gordon Brown has asked Housing and Planning Minister John Healey to lead a task force of five other ministers who will look at ways of helping Britain's pubs.
Measures he will examine include providing tax breaks and relaxing planning laws to help pubs - which are closing at a rate of 39 a week.
Healey said: "Pubs are often at the heart of community life. And they are important meeting places for many people. While we can't stop every pub from closing it's right we do everything possible to back them. But they need help now so I am determined to have a deal on the table with a package of practical help in the next few weeks."
Mark Hastings, British Beer & Pub Association director of communications, said: "This is a clear sign of the strong public desire to see British pubs supported and the success of our campaign over the last year.
"We hope this means that pubs will now have a strategic place in government policy making, and we are pleased that the agenda echoes so many of the priorities we have identified.
"We couldn't wish for a better minister than John Healey as the voice for pubs within government, and look forward to a positive, frank and constructive relationship with him in order to support this great British institution that is so important to the social and economic life of local communities."
Anti beer tie campaign group Fair Pint also welcomed the news.
Spokesman Steve Corbett said: "This is encouraging news for Fair Pint's fight for fairness for tied tenants. The shows that the Prime Minister understands how important the issue of pub closures will be in the next General Election and that he wants to see action taken to stem the loss of local pubs.
"When Fair Pint met the Prime Minister last year he made it clear that he understood that the structure of the industry is a problem. We believe that John Healey's comments about the power of big pub owning companies in the market shows that he understands how the lack of free competition within the sector is a major cause of the increasing number of business failures."
Healey is one of the few MPs who has actively supported all of The Publican's Proud of Pubs Weeks by visiting a pub in his constituency.