The Campaign For Pubs movement launches to protect pubs impacted by COVID-19

Pub landlords, celebrity fans, MPs and beer brewers have joined forces to spearhead a campaign that aims to protect the pub industry.

The Campaign for Pubs is a mass membership group open to all who love and care about pubs - but is at heart, a grassroots voice for pubs and those that love them.

It has been established by a group of prominent licensees, leading pub campaigners, small brewers and pub lovers including academics, musicians and actors, such as Paul Courtney Hyu - but also brings together publicans, campaigners, customers and suppliers.

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While the campaign has been spurred by the impact that coronavirus has had on pubs due to lockdown and enforced closure - it also highlights some of the biggest challenges, that the Campaign argues, was already hampering the industry such as the business model and conduct of large pub-owning companies, the weakness of the Pubs Code and Adjudicator, the attitude of the insurance industry and a lack of sufficient recognition within tax and planning law of the vital role pubs play in their communities.

Pubs like The Roebuck at Otley are valuable to community life.Pubs like The Roebuck at Otley are valuable to community life.
Pubs like The Roebuck at Otley are valuable to community life.

It is hoped that campaign will lead to more pubs being run by people that genuinely care about them and the communities they serve, better protection for pubs and better links between pubs and the growing sector of locak UK based independent brewers.

Paul Crossman, Chair of the Campaign for Pubs said: “There is an urgent need for a dynamic new campaign group providing a real voice for pubs and those who love and support them and we will begin by calling for urgent action to support and save pubs facing huge losses due to the Covid-19 crisis.

"The Campaign for Pubs will campaign vigorously, along with the British Pub Confederation, for more support for pubs now. We will then campaign for the key changes that are needed to deliver a more independent and sustainable future for pubs, one which will allow them to truly thrive as cornerstones of their communities as all pubs should."

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A brewery MD has backed the campaign and said access between local brewers and local pubs has been cut off in the past due to large pub companies and it has been difficult for them to speak up in the past.

LeedsBID and JPI Media are backing local businesses.LeedsBID and JPI Media are backing local businesses.
LeedsBID and JPI Media are backing local businesses.

Phil Saltonstall, MD of Brass Castle Brewery and brewer coordinator for the Campaign for Pubs said: “We have a dynamic brewing sector with many wonderful smaller breweries making great beer, but access to market is often closed-off due to the dominance of large pubcos and giant brewers.

"Big players have made the UK pub landscape in large part inequitable, skewed and charmless. Established organisations are struggling to speak-up for small brewers in that context."

The Campaign for Pubs costs £25 a year to join, or £40 for a couple. Members will become part of a national network of those who care about pubs and their future, and their subscription will fund campaigning work on key issues.

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Also backing the cause is politician and former Leeds West MP, Greg Mulholland who is director of the Campaign.

He said: "It’s high time that all who are passionate about pubs came together to speak with one voice to campaign vigorously for a better, more independent future for pubs and I am delighted that the Campaign for Pubs has begun.

"We have lost too many pubs due to predatory purchasing, greed and apathy and it is time that we had a radical new grassroots campaign to bring communities together, publicans and customers, to say enough is enough and to fight to preserve pub culture and defend the key role pubs play in our communities, local economies and in our history and heritage. We urge all who love and value pubs to join us now, especially with the real threat pubs face now, with the Covid-19 crisis”.

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