Action to save community pubs from closure vital in the fight to tackle loneliness – CAMRA
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Responding to the publication of the Welsh Government’s loneliness strategy today, the Campaign for Real Ale has called on ministers to take action to better protect pubs from closure.
The Welsh Government’s first-ever loneliness strategy (Connected Communities: A strategy for tackling loneliness and social isolation and building stronger social connections) published today acknowledges that the closure of pubs and other places for people to meet makes it more challenging for people to develop and maintain social networks.
The cross-government strategy aims to make sure all government decisions and policies take account of the need to tackle loneliness and social isolation.
The Campaign for Real Ale is asking the Welsh Government to cut business rates for pubs to help reduce closures, as well as to make changes to the planning system to give communities a chance to save their local if its faces demolition or being converted into housing, a supermarket or some other use.
CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said: “CAMRA very much welcomes the publication of this strategy to tackle loneliness – but we are concerned that the Government aren’t giving enough recognition to the importance of our pubs.
“Our locals are at the heart of local communities across Wales. They provide a safe, regulated environment in which to relax with a drink and mix with people of other age groups and backgrounds – and are often the only place left for people in rural communities to meet. Yet too many have already closed or face the risk of closure.
“That’s why CAMRA wants to see a specific business rates relief scheme to help pubs with the burden of business rates, reflecting the unique position of pubs as community assets.
“The Welsh Government should also do more to give communities a chance to save their local pubs from demolition, conversion or closure by changing the planning system to better protect pubs from being converted into houses, takeaways or supermarkets.
“These measures are vital if we are to save pubs across the country from closure, and should form part of the Government’s plan to tackle loneliness in Wales.”