Pub groups have slammed Department for Business, Innovation and Skills plans for a new quango to micro-manage the details of agreements between pub landlords and their commercial tenants. Punch Taverns said:
A founding commitment of the coalition was to reduce regulation, but ministers now seem intent on wrapping Britain's pubs in red tape.
The problems that the pubs industry faces are not because of a lack of regulation and taxes from ministers and civil servants. The problem is crushing taxes and too much regulation.
It was a great move by the Chancellor to listen to our Mash Beer Tax campaign and scrap the beer duty escalator in the Budget, cutting the tax by 1.5 per cent. But at the same time he also hiked tax on cider, wine and spirits by 5.2 per cent.
And tight planning restrictions which drive up residential rents and house prices, causing the housing crisis are also contributing to the slow but steady disappearance of our pubs. The high residential property prices caused by planning regulations provide a financially attractive alternative for pub buildings, putting economic pressure on owners to convert them into flats.
Pubs don't need Vince Cable's battalion of beer bureaucrats to pontificate about what 'fair prices' are or dictate the terms of their agreements. They need planning reform so residential property developers are allowed to build homes in commercially viable locations and don't have to resort to converting pubs. And they need lower taxes not just on beer, but on wine, spirits, cider and business rates, too.