What the political parties say on pubs

By Emily Sutherland

- Last updated on GMT

What the political parties say on pubs

Related tags Liberal democrats House of lords

Pubs get attention in all the party manifestos, bar one.

The UK’s major political parties unveiled their full election manifestos last week, as the election battle starts to hot up.

Pubs were a major focus for several parties, with the UK Independence Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives all highlighting the central role pubs play in
local communities.

Although not mentioning pubs directly, Labour pledged to “take targeted action on the high-strength, low-cost alcohol products that fuel problem drinking.”

The PMA understands the Labour party has no plans to introduce minimum unit pricing but it remains unclear as to whether the crackdown on cheap but strong drinks will
apply to the on-trade.

The Lib Dems came out in full support of minimum pricing, although the policy will be subject to the outcome of the legal challenge currently posed in Scotland. Minimum pricing emerged as one of the most important issues to publicans in the PMA’s recent election survey, with 40% of respondents saying they would like it to be a focus for the next government.

The Green party manifesto brought welcome news for supporters of the PMA’s Make Some Noise campaign, with pledges to encourage live performances in pubs by giving local authorities the power to modify regulations.


Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg promised to provide more protection for pubs deemed assets of community value. If elected, the Conservatives will extend the length of time communities have to purchase assets, as well as requiring owners to set a clear reserve price for locals to aim for while bidding.

The party will also set up a Pub Loan Fund, which community groups could use to cover lawyers’ fees or refurbishment costs as revealed by the PMA last week.

The Lib Dems would implement a Community Right to Buy, while also ensuring planning permission is needed to convert pubs for alternative uses.

UKIP’s standout policy was a vow to relax the smoking ban, giving pubs the option to open designated smoking rooms providing they are physically separated from non-smoking areas. The party also plans to offer tax breaks to smaller breweries, but said it was firmly against minimum pricing.

Tory policies have already been a hit with publicans, with the party coming top in a survey of who PMA readers intend to vote for, while Nigel Farage emerged as the leader most would like to have a drink with.

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