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'Costly rents and high beer prices' force pub closures

Landlords are permanently calling time at their bar because their profits are squeezed by "costly rents and high beer prices", an expert has said.

Speaking ahead of Labour's campaign to get a statutory code through Parliament, the chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale, 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.

– Mike Benner Campaign for Real Ale

Govt under fire for not doing enough to protect pubs

The Government need to speed up measures aimed to protect pubs and their landlords after it emerged 26 a week are closing down, Labour have said.

Labour wants more to be done to protect the local pub. Credit: PA

They plan to use an opposition day debate to urge the Coalition to introduce a statutory code to protect landlords from exploitation at the hands of large companies.

Legislation was drawn up last year but kicked into the long grass to consider the huge number of responses the proposed laws received.

Shadow pubs minister Toby Perkins said: "A broad coalition including Camra, business organisations and trade unions are backing a new statutory code with teeth."

He continued: "A year ago, in response to pressure from campaigners and Labour, ministers said they'd take action but 12 months later they've failed to do so."


Pubs face beer shortage as workers set to strike

Beer could be in short supply tomorrow as delivery workers are set to strike Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/

Workers who deliver beer, lager and soft drinks to pubs, clubs - and Downing Street - will stage a 24-hour strike tomorrow in a row over jobs.

Unite said the walkout by its members at Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics (KNDL) from 10am would cause "significant disruption" to thousands of sites.

Pubs, clubs, airports, theatres, mainline railway stations, football grounds and Parliament will all be hit, said Unite.

KNDL said it had contingency plans and would seek to minimise disruption to deliveries.

The firm added it had been consulting employees for a number of years over the need to adapt its business model.

Picket lines will be mounted at depots across the country.

Britain's first motorway pub: Your views

After the announcement that JD Wetherspoon is set to open its first pub at a motorway service station, ITV News viewers have been giving their views on the issue on our Facebook page:

That's just enticing drivers to drink ... it's wrong.

– Nicola Gittings

Finally a move that puts responsibility back in our hands!

They serve great value meals for families, it's our responsibility to not drink and drive. If you can't walk into a pub without being tempted into drinking then you shouldn't be driving at all!

– Sue Mccarney

Pathetic idea! Yeah the food's ok but really ... [a] pub on a motorway [is] not a great idea is it.

– Lisa Hudson

Motorway pub will pose a 'deadly temptation to drivers'

The road safety charity Brake has said that the opening of the first motorway pub is "desperately worrying" as it could pose a "potentially deadly temptation to drivers".

Will motorway pubs prove a temptation for drivers? Credit: Clara Molden/PA

Spokesperson Richard Coteau said: "There is widespread misunderstanding about the fact that even a small amount of alcohol has a significant impact on your ability to drive safely, so it’s desperately worrying that some drivers might think it’s okay to stop off for a quick drink on their way home."

"Research is clear that just one drink inflates your crash risk. That’s why our advice to drivers is if you are driving, don't drink any amount of alcohol – not a drop," he added.


Health charity: Motorway pub 'sends wrong message'

The chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), which brings together organisations focussed on tackling alcohol misuse, has condemned plans for the first Wetherspoon motorway pub:

To reduce alcohol-related harm, we have to reduce its availability, not increase it. Opening a bar at a service station sends out completely the wrong message if we are trying to prevent harm from alcohol-related traffic accidents.

The AHA believes that a fundamental review of licensing law is required which focuses on controlling the availability of alcohol and reducing alcohol-related harm.

Public health should be a licensing objective in its own right, taking into consideration the total number of premises selling alcohol, of all kinds, and the impact of this provision on the health and wellbeing of the local population.

– Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman, Alcohol Health Alliance

First Wetherspoon motorway pub to open on M40

The nation's first Wetherspoon motorway pub will open at the Extra service station on the M40 near Beaconsfield, around four miles outside the capital's M25 ring road.

Extra's website describes it as "one of the newest and most attractive Motorway Service Areas in Europe".

The location of the Extra service station that will host the Wetherspoon bar Credit: Google Maps/Extra

The £2 million development has been given the go-ahead by Thames Valley Police and South Bucks District Council.

As part of its application, JD Wetherspoon said the pub would display notices reminding customers of the dangers of drink-driving, although a spokesman said bar staff would not ask customers whether they were driving.

Wetherspoon to open first motorway pub amid outrage

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has been given the green light to open its first pub at a motorway service station despite criticism from campaigners that it will "tempt" drivers to drink.

The new bar will open at the Extra service station in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire later this year and will be licensed to serve alcohol between 8am and 1am.

A JD Wetherspoon sign at a public house in Putney south west London Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin called the unprecedented pub an "exciting new development" and said he hoped its would be "the first of many Wetherspoon's on the motorway".

However, road safety groups including Brake and the Alcohol Health Alliance have condemned the move saying the bar will send the wrong message to drivers.

Wetherspoon to create 1,200 jobs next year

Wetherspoon chairman and founder Tim Martin Credit: Reuters

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is to open 30 new pubs and create 1,200 jobs next year.

The company is to invest more than £35 million in areas including Cardiff, Fort William, Selby, Whitby, New Brighton and Fraserburgh.

Chairman Tim Martin said: "We are...pleased to be creating so many new jobs, especially during a recession."

But he warned: "There is no question that we would open more pubs and create more jobs in 2013 if the increasing tax burden on pubs was reduced."

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