Pubs minister offers sign of things to come

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs minister offers sign of things to come

Related tags Pub sector Golf Marcus jones

The new pubs minister has hit the ground running with a visit to the White Star in Stoke.

The Publican’s Morning Advertiser caught up with him last week, and you can see how Marcus Jones is settling into the role with our exclusive Q&A​.

It seems that Mr Jones is steeped in the pub sector, having worked within it for 10 years and even meeting his wife there. Hopefully, that translates into a man with real empathy for the sector, unless he’s just had a row with his wife!

I welcome his views on assets of community value (ACVs), that they should be used sensibly and a blanket ACV on all pubs is not the way forward — the Otley situation being a recent case in point.

It is still early days for the minister, but indications show a man keen to get to grips with his brief, to bring his experience and understanding to the role. Here’s hoping, this time, the pub sector has a true champion in the role, one that is going to be a positive influence within Government for the whole trade.

While we’re looking at positives in the trade, the news last week that we are seeing increasing numbers of younger people moving into running pubs was welcome. Like many industries, our life blood is the younger generation moving into the trade and the more we can do to encourage that, the better. A focus at the recent MA300 summit — full coverage you can see on pages 14-19 — was on training and retaining people within the business.

It’s vital the pub sector remains appealing to young people beyond the traditional student and summer jobs. We need to showcase that there are great careers to be had within the sector, and for those
looking to run their own businesses, there’s also plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The recent Queen’s Speech also held a good amount of cheer for the pub sector, with announcements looking to reduce the burdens on businesses.

Extensions of programmes such as the ‘Primary Authority’ scheme as well as the review of areas like business rates are to be welcomed across the sector. The increased focus on apprenticeships is also important and continues to increase the message that the pub, beer and drinks industry has plenty to offer in terms of training, employment opportunities and career development.

There’s a very positive mood around the industry at the moment, despite the uncertainty created by the regulation changes, we need to tap into that and continue to drive things forward.

One way to keep the positive mood going is by supporting the sector’s good causes, and the PMA is delighted to back the Licensed Trade Charity’s recently launched annual golf tournament, sponsored by Sky.

The competition will see a number of heats held around the country, culminating in a grand final at Archerfield Links Golf Club, in Scotland, in October. Money raised at the event will go towards supporting people from across industry who have fallen on hard times. For more information, see pages 8 and 10.

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