Action plan needed to save Scottish pubs from permanent closure after MUP announcement: CAMRA
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) says ministers need to value the role of local pubs as part of Scotland’s social fabric and protect them from closure.
CAMRA is calling on the Scottish Government to come up with an action plan to save the nation’s pubs following today’s announcement on increasing the minimum unit price for alcohol to 65p from 30 September.
Representing pubgoers, the consumer group believes that policies like Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) – and a cut in tax specifically on pints served in pubs, which it is calling for ahead of the UK Government’s Budget in March – can encourage people to drink in the regulated setting of the pub instead of drinking cheaper supermarket alcohol at home.
But the Campaign fears that uprating MUP won’t have an impact on its own to encourage pub-going and to safeguard the future of hundreds of community locals at risk of permanent closure due to crippling business rates and a possible return of Scottish Government plans to ban alcohol advertising.
Commenting on the MUP increase, CAMRA’s Scotland Director Stuart McMahon said:
“Our pubs and social clubs are a vital part of our social fabric, bringing people together and helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation. But too many are being forced to close due to crippling costs, with pubs in Scotland shutting up shop at a higher rate than elsewhere in the UK.
“Sadly, the Scottish Government doesn’t seem to understand the importance of protecting our local pubs as community meeting places and as a safe, regulated place to enjoy a pint with friends and family, with all the wellbeing benefits that go with it. Once our pubs have closed down, or have been converted into flats or shops, or demolished altogether, it is too late to get them back for the communities they once served.
“That’s why we are calling on the Scottish Government to bring forward an action plan to protect and promote pubs as a force for good in our society and to recognise the mental health and wellbeing benefits of drinking responsibly in your local.
“CAMRA urgently wants to see a rethink on help for pubs with business rates, the closing of loopholes in the planning system that allow pubs to be demolished by developers without the need for planning permission and a commitment not to cripple valued local pubs and independent breweries by bringing back draconian measures to ban alcohol advertising and sponsorship.”