Concerns raised about Community Pubs Minister role in Government reshuffle

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Community pubs Community pubs minister Prime minister Olympic games

Concerns raised about Community Pubs Minister role in Government reshuffle
Bob Neill, the minister in charge of community pubs, has been dropped in the latest Government reshuffle and concerns have been raised about whether the role will remain.

The Government appointed Bob Neill as minister responsible for community pubs in October 2010 after pressure from the Campaign from Real Ale for a designated minister. He was Parliamentary under secretary of state in the Department of Communities and Local Government.  

The Prime Minister has also revealed three new appointments within that Government department although it is unclear which one of these may take on the mantle of championing the pub sector.

Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, Conservative MP Brandon Lewis and Conservative MP Nick Boles have all been confirmed as Parliamentary under secretaries of State for the Government department.

However, All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group Chair Greg Mulholland has today written to the Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to retain the position of Community Pubs Minister.

The group believe that retention of a dedicated minister with responsibility for Community Pubs (either within the Department for Communities & Local Government or in another relevant Department) is vital and it has called for  more decisive action to be taken if this government wants to be regarded as a pub friendly government.

Mulholland said: “It is vital that following the re-shuffle this week, the role of Community Pubs Minister is retained, in order to continue to good work done by Bob Neill MP since his appointment in 2010, who we as a group would like to thank for his active engagement with the Save the Pub Group, speaking up for pubs across government and for playing an important role in bringing together the many departments that influence pubs.

“Whilst under Bob Neill there was limited progress, the Save the Pub Group wish to see much more concrete and positive action in the second half of this Parliament in supporting and protecting valued community pubs. This must include further reform to planning law to protect existing pubs and to stop the deliberate closure of profitable pubs against community wishes and decisive action to ensure large pub companies allow their licensees to make a fair living.

"It is vital the role of a dedicated Community Pubs Minister is retained if they truly want to be seen, as the Prime Minister himself has stated, as a pub friendly government.”

Also in the reshuffle, John Penrose has stood down from his ministerial role as Tourism and Heritage Minister, as the Prime Minister decided to reduce the size of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) now that the Olympics are over. 

Penrose said: “I’m very proud of the work I did as part the DCMS team, boosting the tourism industry, cutting red tape and helping with a highly successful Olympic Games as well.”

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