Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)
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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

All hands to the (beer) pump?

You couldn't make it up!
New Minister for Pubs John Healey has promised to table a package of measures to help pubs within weeks.
and
Last week, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said the rate of pub closures had slowed from 52 a week in the first half of 2009 to 39 a week.
Healey, also housing and planning minister, is to head a task force of five ministers who will draw up a plan to help pubs.
He is said to be considering tax breaks for pubs and giving tenants the right to buy pubs from landlords if they are threatened with closure.
It is understood that the idea of appointing such a minister has been bubbling away over the past year as the government sought to provide some cross-departmental cohesion on policies affecting pubs.
So they're going to magic money out of thin air for not only 'tax relief'  but also the wages and severance pay for yet another minister. Perhaps they'll use the money they're taking from pensioners because their computers have made a bit of a mistake? All they need to do is relax the rules of the smoking ban to be exactly what they promised in their non-legally binding manifesto which was a "pledge to introduce a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places in England, except pubs which do not serve food, and private members' clubs".

Odd they should be 'doing something' now, in the run up to a general election.
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5 comments:

Dick Puddlecote said...

The pub closures reducing from 52 a week to 39 is probably because there are so many less left to destroy.

Still no mention of the smoking ban though, as you point out. They just can't admit they fucked up, can they? ;-)

An ex-smoker said...

"Odd they should be 'doing something' now, in the run up to a general election."

Too dang right, Mrs Rigby. ZaNuLiebor are wreckers. I used to avoid pubs because of the smoke but the ban just smacks of the Nanny State. The government, and Civil Service, need a massive dose of common sense. There was no need for the ban except to please the busybodies. It could all have been done much better: divide the pub into two bars, smokers' and non-smokers' (remember the old Public Bar and Saloon Bar?); all sorts of differences between the two bars could be introduced at the discretion of the landlord or brewery but the only mandatory difference would be in the level of ventilation in the smokers' bar, principally for the protection of the bar staff and for the comfort of non-smokers throughout the pub; the cost of silent extractor fans etc could be passed on to patrons in the smokers' bar by higher drinks prices, if - but only if - the landlord or brewery were so inclined.

418 said...

"The pub closures reducing from 52 a week to 39 is probably because there are so many less left to destroy."

Hear, hear.

Mrs R said...

"It could all have been done much better: divide the pub into two bars, smokers' and non-smokers'"

That's what was done to a place in RigbyTown because they believed the manifesto. It cost a lot of money, then they had to spend even more money on a shelter, which they got wrong because it had sides, so had to spend more money putting that right ...

Other countries have it right, a balance that can be chosen by the proprietor.

dings said...

In France I can take my dog into the restaurant with me and I can smoke there if so minded. They even bring a bowl of water for ze dogue.