Pub closures ‘contribute to burgeoning issue of loneliness’

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Action needed: Clacton MP Giles Watling told fellow MPs the Government must do more to save pubs
Action needed: Clacton MP Giles Watling told fellow MPs the Government must do more to save pubs
The closure of village pubs is adding to the issue of loneliness in the UK, one MP told the House of Commons this month (1 November).

Giles Watling, MP for Clacton in Essex, also thanked Chancellor Philip Hammond for the duty freeze in beer, cider and spirits at his recent Budget​ (29 October) but said he would continue campaigning for a tax cut.

He said: “I would like to thank the Chancellor for the ongoing freeze in beer duty and I’m probably not alone in that.

“But I am somewhat disappointed, having joined my constituents in campaigning for a cut, I do recognise that a freeze is certainly better than an increase.

“I will continue to lobby for a reduction to protect pubs as vital community centres. It should be borne in mind that a pub is part of the great British way of life.”

Burgeoning issue

This was met by a chorus of ‘hear, hear’ from the house, before Watling outlined the importance of pubs to communities when it came to combating loneliness.

He explained: “A great place to share and enjoy company. Loneliness is one of the burgeoning issues that we face today and I would argue that the demise of so many of our treasured village pubs across the country has contributed towards this plight.

“You don’t have to go there to drink the alcohol, you can drink any drink you like but it’s a place to go to and a problem shared is a problem halved."

Greater scope

The MP also highlighted that while he helps the pubs in his constituency, the Government could do much more.

“While the pubs in Clacton do receive plenty of support from me personally, one man can only do so much,” Watling added.

“And there is so much greater scope in this sector for the Government to intervene in.”

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