Communities urged to back pubs push
Ministers have announced a package of measures aimed at boosting pubs and help communities save any local threatened with closure.
Just days after the Chancellor announced a third consecutive cut in beer duty in the Budget, the Government said new regulations had been laid giving communities a greater say in the planning process to protect local pubs.
Extra funding has also been announced which will be pumped into schemes to support community ownership of public houses.
Ministers dubbed today Community Pubs Day and called on people to mark the day by "listing their local" as an asset of community value so it can be given extra protection.
More than 600 pubs have been registered so far as an asset of community value and campaigners have pledged to triple that number this year to take advantage of the change in the law.
Community Pubs Minister Kris Hopkins said: "Hot on the heels of this Government's hat-trick of beer duty cuts, I am delighted to raise a glass to the great British pub and all those communities who have worked so hard to make our locals an integral part of our lives.
"The great British pint might have just got a penny cheaper but I can tell you now, having visited breweries and pubs across the land to see first-hand the innovation under way in this great sector, that our beer has never tasted better.
"A lot of hard work has been put in by communities to protect their beloved pubs from sell-off and many more could be afforded this protection, which is why we are calling on people to celebrate the first-ever Community Pubs Day by considering whether they might want to list their local."
The Government is also giving £100,000 to an initiative to help landlords diversify to provide services such as shops and post offices called Pub is The Hub.
Tim Page, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), said: "Thanks to the efforts of the thousands of Camra members who lobbied their local MP, from April 6 when a pub is listed as an asset of community value in England it will receive full planning protection, ultimately giving communities a say in what happens if the owner wishes to demolish the pub or convert it to another use.
"This is a powerful step towards protecting our valued community pubs. All it takes is a local group or 21 locals to start the process of having a pub listed as an ACV, so let's push the number of listed pubs from hundreds to thousands."