The Government today announced a 12 point action plan to give practical support to community pubs up and down the country, backed by £4m in government funding.
Nearly 40 pubs are closing each week, resulting in job losses and millions of pounds lost to the economy. The Prime Minister wanted to look earlier this year at how government intervention can help community pubs, as businesses struggle in tough economic circumstances.
New help will include £3.3 million for business support to make pubs more successful and help communities buy into struggling pubs to keep them running. Business support is also in place for struggling membership clubs, we will be slashing “beer ties”, and a consultation is underway on proposals to cut the requirement for music licences in certain venues.
Councils will also be given new powers through the planning system to intervene before a pub is demolished, giving a pause in the system for the local community to have their say. Restrictions on sales which prevent premises continuing as pubs will be also banned. The planning laws will allow pubs to branch out their business without planning permission into new commercial ventures, ranging from restaurants to gift shops and books shops, without the additional expense and time of seeking approval from the council.
The measures will give landlords the opportunity to have direct access to specialist, tailored business advice through ‘Pub is the Hub’, currently a voluntary support service for community pubs. Government funding of over £1m will ensure that the group act as a specialist first-stop shop for advice on business support and diversification. Pub is the Hub will act as a gateway to advice, supporting pubs directly or passing them on to the most appropriate service such as Business Link.