Nigel Evans asked the Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant MP, for more support for British pubs.
The exchange in the House of Commons went as follows:
Mr Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley):
One iconic institution that attracts a lot of tourism into the United Kingdom—and, indeed, within the United Kingdom—is the great British pub, where people can enjoy tremendous real ales, tremendous food and a wonderful welcome, but far too many pubs are still closing every week. Will my hon. Friend discuss with fellow Ministers what more can be done to retain the vitality of this amazing industry, particularly in the realms of rate relief for rural pubs?
I am very fond of my own local pub, the Unicorn in Marden, and I do step in there now and again. I reassure my hon. Friend that we are doing a great deal to assist the business sector, and that includes helping pubs by reducing fuel and beer duties. We are also trying to simplify planning, and are continuing to cut red tape, regulation and bureaucracy.
Speaking after having left the Chamber, Mr Evans said:
“I think that everybody knows that I am a huge supporter of the pub industry and I do want us to find a way to stop the erosion of these great community assets. Pubs are still closing at far too high a rate and the industry does need government support in order to arrest its decline.
“Locally, I find it very sad that well established pubs such as the Derby Arms at Thornley have been forced to close their doors.
“There are many things that the government could look at from business rates to beer duty but we must address the problem before it is too late and the Great British Pub is consigned to history.”