Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson campaigns to save local pub

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said Labour struck a blow for struggling local pubs when the Tory-Lib Dem Government was forced into a u-turn.

Labour used the first Opposition Day Debate of 2013 to force the Tories and Lib Dems to back proposals to back beleaguered local pubs.

Within hours of the debate, the government announced  it would support the creation of a statutory code to guide and regulate the relationship between large pub companies - the branded chains of pubs which account for the majority of pubs in the UK- and their tenants and licencees.

Bill said it was a victory for local pubs.

Bill said: "Pubs are vital hubs for communities in Sefton Central and are valued strongly by local people, but due to the Tory-led government’s inaction and broken promises on backing small landlords they are closing at an ever-increasing rate. 

"The number of pub closures a week has recently risen from 12 to 18 and over 200 pubs have been converted to convenience stores in the last two years alone.

"I welcome the fact that, after Labour called a debate on this issue ministers have decided to think again and I was proud to vote for Labour’s motion. 

"The government’s reforms aren’t perfect.  There is still confusion as to whether they will include a 'free of tie' option which many local landlords support as it would allow them to buy their beer on the open market at the best price, but it’s a good start and I look forward to working with them to implement the change."

Bill has now written to local landlords to ask them for their views.

Bill said: "We have some fantastic pubs in Formby Crosby, Maghull, Melling, Lunt, Ince Blundell and Hightown. Pubs that play a real part in the community. That's the sign of a good pub.

"We need to support these pubs. They are local assets and valuable local employers.

"That's why I have written to local pub landlords for their views on how best we can support them and secure their future in our communities."

Labour’s Shadow Pubs Minister,Toby Perkins MP said: "After a whole year of inaction and foot dragging, the government have caved in and are finally accepting what we have said all along: that ensuring fairness in the relationship between the big pub companies and their landlords will require a statutory code. 

"Given the huge amount of time which ministers have already wasted, it is crucial that the government moves quickly to bring forward proposals for a proper statutory code this year. We will be urging ministers to strengthen the Code by including a non-tied option for publicans, which campaigners have long been calling for."


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