Politicians commit to protecting our pubs and giving them voice

GOING STRONG Politicians have voiced their support for The Cross Keys in Paulsgrove

GOING STRONG Politicians have voiced their support for The Cross Keys in Paulsgrove

(Middle) Kaz Miah, owner and head chef, with his team (l-r) Steph Thomas, Rujal Miah, George Purnell and Kieran Crawford.   Picture: Sarah Standing (170506-129)

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Many pubs are in desperate need of more support.

Now parliamentary candidates from the Portsmouth area have pledged to do what they can for locals and ensure the government does more to help.

They have signed up to support well-run pubs, promote breweries and represent pub goers ahead of the general election on May 7.

Portsmouth North candidates Councillor John Ferrett, of the Labour Party, and Michael Fitzgerald, of Ukip, are involved.

In Portsmouth South, Flick Drummond, running for the Tories and Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, of the Lib Dems, want to make a difference.

They are joined by Miles Grindey, Green candidate for Fareham, and Dave Alexander, who is hoping to win Meon Valley for Ukip.

Five hundred candidates across 350 constituences are backing the initative.

It comes after the Campaign for Real Ale challenged parties to continue lobbying for changes in the pub trade.

Cllr Ferrett said he has pledged his support given pubs are important meeting places and there is only one left in the Paulsgrove ward he represents – The Cross Keys.

‘I talk from a ward in the city that has only one pub left, so the lack of community institutions and social institutions where people can meet is a real issue,’ he said.

‘So we should be doing everything we can to try and preserve these institutions.’

It comes ahead of the chancellor’s budget on Wednesday, which campaigners hope will provide further assistance for pubs.

The government has already agreed to draw up legislation ensuring pubs on a ‘community value’ list are not demolished or redeveloped unless planning permission is granted. Tim Page, Camra’s chief executive, said: ‘Camra is delighted that 500 general election candidates have committed to back real ale and community pubs.

‘It’s looking like a three horse race to win the title of ‘Most Pro-Pub Party’ with Labour, Conservatives and the Lib Dems all having over 100 candidates signed up already.

‘This overwhelming response from candidates is great news for beer drinkers and pub goers alike and will be crucial to Camra delivering yet more successful campaigns over the next five years.’

Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern, in Albert Road, Southsea, said he hopes politicians will back up their words with action.

‘Any parliamentarian who wants to help save the pubs and actually do something has got my full support. What I don’t like is when they try to do this to get votes.’

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