Government pledges £4m to help pubs

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pubs Community pubs Minister john healey Beer

Pubs minister John Healey has unveiled a £4million package designed to support community pubs across the country. Measures in the 12-point action...

Pubs minister John Healey has unveiled a £4million package designed to support community pubs across the country.

Measures in the 12-point action plan include stumping up £3.3m to help communities keep pubs open. This will see grants given out across the country to support 50 pubs in a three-year pilot programme.

The government also says it will be "slashing beer ties" by ensuring tied pubs are allowed to sell locally sourced guest beers as well as their tied products.

Pub companies have been warned that if they do not allow tenants to do this the government could step in and legislate.

The move shows government support for the recent Business, Innovations and Skills committee report into the industry.

Healey added it also endorsed the year-long window the industry has been given to get its house in order.

Meanwhile, Healey has called on the industry to voluntarily ensure flow monitoring equipment such as Brulines is calibrated by the National Weights and Measures Laboratory. If it fails to do so the government could again take action.

Healey, who is also the minister in charge of planning, will allow communities to have a say before a pub is demolished.

And planning laws will be relaxed so pubs will not need to apply to councils to diversify their businesses.

There is also to be a review on whether restrictive covenants - where pubs are sold on the condition that they are no longer run as pubs - should be banned.

Healey said: "This package of tough, practical measures aims to put some real support behind our community pubs, giving publicans more support to diversify and punters more choice.

"We need and can do more to support our pubs which can be at the heart of a local community.

"Today's measures are a much needed shot in the arm for publicans in these tough times. They will make it easier to diversify, lower costs and cut red tape when it comes to branching out."

The government will also carry out three independent studies of the pub sector to "identify where further support can be offered and to ensure the long-term viability of pub".

The first, looking at pub ownership and management patterns, is to be concluded by the end of the year.

The action plan also shows support for plans to make it easier for pubs to host live music, which The Publican​ is calling for with the Listen Up! campaign.

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