Tories: Labour has gutted community pubs

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Community pubs Renting Beer Alcoholic beverage Labour

Spelman: Labour has let pubs down
Spelman: Labour has let pubs down
The Conservatives have accused Labour of letting community pubs "go to the wall" in response to pubs minister's new plans for the sector.

The Conservatives have accused Labour of letting community pubs "go to the wall".

It came in a response to the £4m package of measure announced last week from pubs minister John Healey. However, the Tories made no mention of the beer tie in the latest statement.

The Conservatives pointed to a net fall of 3,500 pubs across England since Labour came to power in 1997.

They highlighted a £20m rise on pub business rates this April and criticised the beer duty escalator, which they said would mean a £625m rise in alcohol duties in 2010-2011.

The Tories also slated Labour's reported plan to cut the drink-drive limit and lack of action on cheap alcohol in supermarkets.

Shadow communities secretary Caroline Spelman said: "Under Labour there has been a surge in alcohol-fuelled violence in our high streets, while local community pubs go to the wall.

"Pubs face the perfect storm of above-inflation hikes in business rates next month, escalating alcohol duty and unfair loss-leading by supermarkets. Labour's arbitrary changes to drink-driving limits will force even more rural pubs to go to the wall.

"Conservatives will stand up for local community pubs and give residents new rights to protect them, whilst giving police and councils strong powers to tackle the binge drinking violence that ruins our towns at night."

The Conservatives are the one major party that has yet to reveal what action it would take on the beer tie.

However, shadow licensing spokesman Tobias Ellwood agreed at a Parliamentary meeting last week that the Competition Commission should investigate the tie immediately.

Healey said action by the industry to improve the lot of tenants could be made mandatory by June 2011 if voluntary steps don't work.

The Lib Dems have proposed new laws to let tied tenants opt out of the tie and have at least one guest beer, plus and ban on upward-only rent reviews and selling pubs with restrictive covenants.

Related topics Legislation

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