Ex-Pubs Minister hits out over pub fund axe

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pubs minister, Emmerdale

Woolpack: famous pub is shut
Woolpack: famous pub is shut
John Healey said the funds could have been used to help the community buy the Woolpack in Emmerdale.

The former Pubs Minister has hit out at the Coalition's decision to cut funds to help community pubs — stating it could have been used to help the community buy the Woolpack in Emmerdale.

John Healey, in Labour's short-lived post of Pubs Minister, promised a £3.3m support package towards a three-year pilot programme of 50 community owned pubs through the Plunkett Foundation.

He also pledged £330,000 a year for three years to enable the Pub is the Hub scheme to rollout on a national basis in both urban and rural areas. But the Coalition axed the funds as part of austerity measures.

Enterprise licensee Nichola McGrath left the Woolpack, used for the external shots of the popular ITV soap, blaming a lack of winter trade and high rents and beer prices.

"We've all got a favourite Woolpack, Rovers Return or Queen Vic that helps bond our communities and the closure of this pub will be sad news to local people," said Healey.

"Earlier this year as Pubs Minister, I put in place a package of measures aimed at helping save local pubs. That support was pulled by the new government as part of its slash and burn approach to key local services."

Campaign for Real Ale chief executive Mike Benner said: "No doubt the tight-knit (albeit fictional) community in Emmerdale would jump at the chance to buy this icon of a pub together, but unfortunately the Government has recently scrapped plans to provide over £4m to provide support for community owned pubs. 

"Without financial support, communities simply cannot afford to keep their pubs afloat."

Enterprise said it was hoping to provide an update soon.

Related topics: Legislation

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