Petition started in bid to call time on pub closures

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A real ale group has stepped up its campaign for a pubs watchdog aimed at protecting publicans amid complaints they are being exploited by large firms.

The Government held a consultation last year on a statutory code but held off putting it in place after deciding to consider the huge number of responses it received.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) launched a petition ahead of a Commons debate next week, with Labour accusing the Government of “dragging its feet” over moves to halt pub closures, currently running at 26 a week.

Camra chief executive Mike Benner said: “Pubs are closing as a result of big pub companies squeezing the profits of publicans with costly rents and high beer prices.

“We are backing the Government’s plans to act, but words and proposals need to be translated into urgent action via the introduction of a statutory code, pubs watchdog, a guest beer right and a market rent only option for licensees tied to the large pub companies.

“Our petition is the latest demonstration of public dissatisfaction at the way far too many publicans are treated by the big pub companies.

“We urge all those who care about the future of their local pub to sign our petition to help prevent pubs being sold off.”