Labour MP vows support for pubs as general election announced

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Taken for granted: Chi Onwurah says Labour Government would back pubs (Pictured: Onwurah speaking at the BBPA conference in London)
Taken for granted: Chi Onwurah says Labour Government would back pubs (Pictured: Onwurah speaking at the BBPA conference in London)

Related tags Legislation British beer & pub association

Shadow minister for science pledged to back pubs and breweries as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a summer general election.

Addressing attendees at the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) Pint Tech conference​ in London on 22 May, shadow minister for science and MP for Newcastle Chi Onwurah pledged a Labour Government would champion the hospitality sector.

She said: “Pubs are such an important part of communities in cities, towns and villages across the country.

“That’s why [the sector] will always find a friend in MPs and Parliamentarians because we know what pubs and breweries mean to so many of our constituents.”

Onwurah also explained in Newcastle the hospitality sector creates 20,000 jobs and adds £361m to the local economy.

She continued: “Pubs and breweries are often taken for granted.

Bright vision

“The Labour party has always looked to science and technology to improve the lives of British people, whether it is creating the NHS or founding the Open University, those innovations have always depended on great institutions.

“They have been built with bricks and mortar, safeguarded by passionate custodians, and founded not just on ideas but on hard graft and industry.

“That is why we know there is no bright vision for Britain’s future that doesn’t include beloved British institutions such as our breweries and pubs, innovating and thriving.”

In addition, at the BBPA event, the MP praised the adaptability of the sector during the pandemic.

“The sector has already shown us the way forward and taken the future in your stride to use innovation to do what you have always done, just better, faster and with more choice for your customers.

“Your industry showed extraordinary innovation and resilience during the pandemic, pubs represent the hearts in communities were forced to close their door, and too often they closed for good.

“But you adapted and changed the way people order their pints to keep people safe, by embracing QR codes, which is a fantastic example of innovation and changing people’s lives for the better in the wake of severe pressures”, she continued.

Climate of uncertainty

Onwurah added current challenges had created a “climate of uncertainty” for hospitality firms, from economic headwinds to changing consumer habits.

The MP also detailed Labour’s plan for a publicly owned energy company to “lower costs” for homes and businesses as well as its high street regeneration initiatives​, including business rates reformation and changes to planning.

She concluded: “We want to make sure our policies safeguard the interest of brewers, publicans and consumers to ensure a fair and level playing field so our businesses and thrive.

“[Labour had] a comprehensive plan to improve lives for workers, whether they are pulling pints of ordering them.”

On the same day, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a general election would be held on 4 July, adding the Government’s plan to grow the economy and bring down interest rates down “was working”.

It comes after news inflation had fallen to its lowest rate​ for almost three years, according to data form the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Regarding the upcoming election, Sunak urged voters to consider if they want to “build on the future they’ve made or risk going back to square one".

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