Save the Pub Group

New Save the Pub Group chair plans to recruit new members

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Recruit: new Save the Pub chair Toby Perkins wants to get more members into the group
Recruit: new Save the Pub chair Toby Perkins wants to get more members into the group

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Greg Mulholland’s replacement as Save the Pub Group chair, Toby Perkins, has revealed his future plans with the group and made recruitment of new members his first step.

Perkins is Labour MP for Chesterfield and former shadow pubs minister who Mulholland congratulated on his appointment.

He said: “The first thing is to try to expand the number of MPs involved in the Save the Pub Group to ensure there is wider knowledge around the issues and pressures facing the pub industry.”

Perkins was the shadow pubs minister from 2011 until 2015 and believes his experience in that role will help him as Save the Pub chair.

He told The Morning Advertiser​: “I know from previous work I have done there is a great deal of interest in the sector and it is important to be open.

“To make sure there are meetings taking place regularly, that there are interesting speakers and topics for debate as MPs have a huge amount of things to do on a daily basis, meetings ensuring they are relevant and interesting.”

Great deal of passion for the trade

Perkins said he was pleased to have been elected as the new chair of the group​ and he praised his predecessor Greg Mulholland on the past seven years as Save the Pub Group chair.

He said: “Mulholland is someone who has had a great deal of interest and passion for the pub industry and I thank him for the work he has done.

“While I will have my own approach, it doesn’t in any way diminish the value of his contribution.”

Perkins mentioned the issues which need to be addressed in the group.

He said: “We have obviously got the ongoing issue of the pubs code and ensuring the market-rent-only (MRO) option is delivered in a way that actually offers real choice to tenants.

“There are very significant issues around planning, though they are different in regional areas.

“Across the board we are seeing pubs that are profitable in their own right, are worth more as a piece of property and as a result, communities are losing their pubs.

ACVs are a topic of interest to MPs

He added: “The issue of ensuring communities have the opportunity to make a pub an asset of community value (ACV) is something many MPs are interested in pursuing and learning more about.”

He emphasised what his new appointment means and how he plans to interact with trade bodies.

He added: “My role is very much to try and make sure everyone who has an interest in pub campaigning has a contact with Parliament to be able to do that.

“It is also about making things accessible so people aren’t as obsessed with pubs, can understand everything and get involved in campaigns around issues.

“All you can promise is an opportunity for dialogue.

“I am not the minister and I am not responsible for pub policy but I can try and improve the dialogue between everyone interested in the crucial and important pub sector.”

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