Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Would-Be MPs Urged to Support Pub Campaign; BREWING with Richard Fletcher Camra Wants All General Election Candidates to Take the Pledge. No, Not That Pledge - but One They Hope Will Benefit Pubs and Breweries and Raise Awareness. MARTIN ELLIS, of Tyneside and Northumberland Camra, Explains

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Would-Be MPs Urged to Support Pub Campaign; BREWING with Richard Fletcher Camra Wants All General Election Candidates to Take the Pledge. No, Not That Pledge - but One They Hope Will Benefit Pubs and Breweries and Raise Awareness. MARTIN ELLIS, of Tyneside and Northumberland Camra, Explains

Article excerpt

Byline: MARTIN ELLIS

THE Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is asking candidates in the forthcoming general election to take the pledge.

The aim, launched at last year's round of party conferences, is to get a thousand parliamentary candidates to sign up.

Camra is over halfway there already. Earlier this week the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), which represents small brewers, launched its own manifesto.

Camra is asking the election hopefuls to pledge support for well-run community pubs, promote Britain's 1,300 breweries and represent pubgoers and beer drinkers.

The candidates' names are listed on Camra's website so voters can find out if their prospective representatives support the campaign.

One of the key issues in the manifesto relates to planning.

Hundreds of pubs are being lost as a result of weak planning rules that allow pubs to be converted into convenience stores, estate agents' and a range of other uses without a planning application.

It is also possible for developers to demolish free-standing pubs without planning permission if the pub is not listed or in a conservation area. Camra wants planning rules strengthened to ensure pubs are protected.

The real ale campaigners are demanding legislation so that pubs can buy guest beers and be protected from unfair treatment by large pubowning companies. Currently, say Camra, some publicans are squeezed out of business by unreasonable rents and artificially high costs for beer.

There is a long history of Camra standing up for drinkers and the manifesto would like to see prices clearly displayed in pubs and the end of short measures.

Beer duty is significant for drinkers and small breweries. Currently small breweries pay 50% less duty than large breweries in recognition of the higher costs associated with small scale production. …

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