A summery summary of the coalition's work

By Greg Mulholland

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pub group, Westminster system, Prime minister, Minister

It is time for ministers to turn warm words into action. The Save the Pub Group will hold them to account if they don't, writes Greg Mulholland.

Despite what you may read in the press, MPs are not all on holiday for weeks. Nevertheless, MPs are entitled to spend some time away, including the Prime Minister and his deputy.

Foreign Secretary William Hague is in charge of the country apparently. As it happens, I will be spending time just up the A1 in his constituency with the family, largely so I can continue to frequent and support excellent Yorkshire pubs.

The start of the summer recess and 15 months into the Government's term seems a good time to assess its record on pubs.

We are all used to successive Government ministers' warm words about how important the pub is but then doing things, and failing to do things, to help pubs.

David Cameron said in a reply to a Prime Minister's Question from me last year: "I am a big supporter of British pubs, and want us to be a pub-friendly Government."

The recently-installed chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (of which I am also a member), Andrew Griffiths, the MP for Burton-on-Trent said recently: "We, as politicians, have let you [the pub trade] down."

His comments, however well meant, were sloppy. Many MPs have not let the pub down, indeed those in the Save the Pub Group work hard to stand up for the pub in parliament and outside. It is not even "politicians" that should be blamed for getting it wrong on pubs. It is successive Governments.

So what is the reality of this Government's record so far? The summer report would be mixed and read like this.

"A community pubs minister introduced, which is positive, but without real power and neither a permanent or formal role."

"No marks at all on beer duty, with the escalator still in place and more increases planned."

On supermarket pricing, "a decent first effort, but more application needed".

On planning, "disappointing and superficial, with little in the questionably titled Localism Bill, but now welcome news that the National Planning Policy Framework does include a clear reference to community pubs".

On tie reform, "ministers will have to read the Select Committee report then respond appropriately and if the pubcos haven't done what was asked of them, they must stick to their own promise to intervene".

Overall, the report would conclude that the Government "could, no indeed must, do better".

It is time for ministers to turn warm words into action. The Save the Pub Group will hold them to account if they don't.

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