Exclusive: Minister will fight for pub trade

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Red tape, Bureaucracy, Government, Public house

Prisk: wants to help pubs
Prisk: wants to help pubs
The minister charged with cutting the red-tape burden on businesses has promised to "fight the corner" for the pub trade. In an exclusive interview...

The minister charged with cutting the red-tape burden on businesses has promised to "fight the corner" for the pub trade.

In an exclusive interview with the Publican's Morning Advertiser Mark Prisk, minister for business and enterprise, said: "Once we have got the feedback from the Publican's Morning Advertiser readers my job will be to press that case and I will be doing that with my colleagues to make sure we get some good outcomes."

He was speaking as the Government's Red Tape Challenge is asking hosts to submit their views on a range of legislation affecting the food, drink and hospitality sectors.

The challenge is asking licensees to express their opinions on what red tape should be abolished and for practical suggestions on how some legislation could work more efficiently.

Prisk admitted that certain regulations would not face being scrapped such as the Licensing Act. But he added: "I suspect there may be a lot of people wanting to look at how the act works and how some of the details could be improved and make a real difference to their bottom line.

"I would really encourage publicans to go online and feedback to us the things that make their lives unnecessarily bureaucratic or waste their time. What we are looking for are those practical suggestions that only licensees on the front line who do the work will know about."

He said the Government had already shown it is serious about helping the pub trade by taking some important steps such as cutting business rates.

He added: "We have also taken a review of health and safety rules to make sure they are practical and proportionate. We are looking at employment tribunals so publicans who are employers don't find themselves in endless employment cases.

"We have also been going through the way restrictive covenants work because I know that is a bug bear for a lot of publicans."

He issued a last rallying call to the trade. He said: "With pressure on people's spending, pressure on fuel costs and changing habits, inevitably it is a pretty tough market. We understand that. This look at challenging some of the red tape is so that we can save publicans time and money by stripping away some of the needless rules and regulations that tie their hands."

The challenge is running until 20 May at www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk​.

Prisk on alcohol and his ministerial role

The minister on the Government's approach to alcohol:

"I have been out with police officers and seen people arriving at a pub already drunk because they have been drinking at home or carrying in their own alcohol. We recognise that good, responsible licensees are doing a good job and shouldn't be assumed to be the guilty party here."

The minister on suggestions for a designated alcohol minister:

"I am the minister for construction, retail and manufacturing. If you end up with a minister for all of those then the Government gets bigger. I don't think it adds to the quality of decision making. What I am encouraged by, when I speak to James Brokenshire at the Home Office or when I am talking to colleagues such as Anne Milton in the health department, is that we work as a team. I think in many ways that is more effective. Just having a single minister doesn't always tackle the problem. It is very often about getting the departments to work together. That relies on good team work and we are very much a team-work Government."

The minister on pubs:

"I am a regular supporter of pubs, literally in the sense of going to them. My view is you need a ministerial team that is listening — whether they have the job title 'pub', I am not sure that makes sense. What matters is whether the red tape is being dealt with by the whole Government and not one person."

Related topics: Legislation

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