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SAVING VILLAGE PUBS, PROTECTING LOCAL BREWERIES

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Commenting on the policy motion passed at the Liberal Democrats conference in Bournemouth today, Sandra Gidley MP s...
Commenting on the policy motion passed at the Liberal Democrats conference in Bournemouth today, Sandra Gidley MP said: 'I fully support this motion. The village pub is an important focal point for community life. Not for nothing is it referred to in common parlance as 'the local' - it is just that: an important focal point for community life.

'It is a social meeting place where local people can go, not only for a drink with friends, but to have a family meal and possibly to enjoy a game of snooker, darts, dominoes or cards.

'In addition, the village pub offers employment to local people in the village where they live. Measures are needed to help preserve employment in these areas and ensure job creation, encourage competition and choice and stimulate the growth of related industries

'For all these reasons I welcome the Liberal Democrats decision to work to introduce a progressive beer duty on a sliding scale (relating to volume of production) for small craft and family breweries. Also the pledge to undertake a wider review of beer excise duties including specifically the consideration of harmonizing duty levels throughout the EU.

In addition, we would extend the 50% mandatory rate relief currently enjoyed by some village shops and post offices to sole village pubs, and clarify the powers of local authorities to grant additional discretionary relief for services and businesses.

'Unless the local pubs are protected, it's 'last orders' for this government in rural areas like Romsey,' Sandra Gidley concluded.

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