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Happy Community Pubs Day!

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted March 23, 2015
community pubs day

CAMRA celebrates Community Pubs Day (today; 23/3/15) with "three huge campaign wins".

Today, if you didn't know it, is Community Pubs Day, which, in the words of the UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), is "a new national celebration day to highlight and promote the 600 pubs that have so far been listed as Assets of Community Value" (ACVs).

According to a CAMRA press release, the day also celebrates new laws coming into effect on April 6 that will protect ACV-listed pubs in Cornwall and England "and neatly coincides with the beer tax cut in the recent Budget and the passing into law of the Small Business Bill this week, which will give pub company [pubco] licensees in England and Wales a fairer deal on beer prices and rent".

CAMRA members are thus "urged to visit their local Asset of Community Value pub today to mark this occasion".

As if anyone needed a reason.

"Thanks to the efforts of the thousands of CAMRA members who lobbied their local MP, from April 6 when a pub is listed as an ACV in [Cornwall and England] it will receive full planning protection, ultimately giving communities a say in what happens if the owner wishes to demolish the pub or convert it to another use," says CAMRA CEO Tim Page.

"This is a powerful step towards protecting our valued community pubs."

"All it takes is a local group or 21 locals to start the process of having a pub listed as an ACV, so let's push the number of listed pubs from hundreds to thousands."

But the celebrations, the press release continues, don't end there, with imminent pubco reform "headed for royal assent after 10 years of campaigning by CAMRA and business and tenant groups".

Their work to secure a fair deal for pub tenants and consumers received "the support of over 45,000 campaigners and 212 MPs, resulting in a major government defeat on the Small Business Bill last year".

The new law will give tenants tied to the large pubcos the opportunity to opt for a rent-only deal, freeing them to buy their drinks supplies on the open market at competitive prices.

"CAMRA has been campaigning for pub company reform for over 10 years," Page states.

"We are delighted to finally see our campaign come to fruition with changes to the tied system that will be welcomed by thousands of struggling licensees across the country."

"The Small Business Bill will give them a much fairer deal."

"This is great news for tenants and great news for pubgoers, who will benefit from wider beer choice, fairer prices and a thriving pub sector."

CAMRA also says that its members will "be raising their glasses this week to celebrate a historic third cut in beer tax", which, it continues, "will keep beer prices affordable for pubgoers across the country".

To be honest, the Rake & Herald is not completely convinced by that statement, given the reaction to the 1p ($0.015) cut from some anti-pubco campaigners, who argue that it will only help pubcos up their bottom line with little if any benefits felt by drinkers.

Nevertheless, Page continues: "It has been an excellent year for CAMRA, with three major campaign wins coming to fruition within a few short weeks."

"None of these would have been possible without our dedicated 170,000 members, who work tirelessly to protect the rights of beer drinkers and pubgoers across the country."

"I would like to say a huge thank you to them for every letter written, petition signed or pub listed, which has played a huge role in CAMRA achieving real change."

"It is now up to all of us to continue this good work."

To find out more on how to list a pub as an ACV, have a click of this.

See also Stop supermarket pub conversions, posted 6/2/14, among others.

Ignatius Rake
is a freelance journalist, geographer and world traveller who has visited more than 70 countries on six continents. In 2013, he represented the UK at the Fourth Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship in Toronto, coming an abysmal last and getting his arse royally whipped by Rake & Herald reader and Major League Eating speedscarfing supremo Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut. He has been known to like a pint.

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