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Farron calls for greater support for our pub trade

March 15, 2012 10:09 AM

Tim pulling pints in the Sun Inn, ConistonSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on the government and the County Council to do more to help the pub and brewing trade after new figures showed the critical role they play in our local economy.

Research done by Oxford Economics showed that in Westmorland and Lonsdale there are 136 pubs, providing jobs to over 2000 local people. The research showed that pubs within theSouthLakescontribute over £31 million to our national GDP and pay £18 million in tax to the exchequer.

Tim is well known as a long time campaigner for our pub trade and is a member of CAMRA. Work done recently by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) shows that two pubs are closing every day. The latest closure locally saw the Wheatsheaf at Brigsteer shut its doors without warning.

Tim has proposed that Cumbria County Council support our pubs by providing grants and asking them to support community services like shops, post offices and other community facilities. Currently Essex County Council offers grants to pubs of 50% of any capital investment, up to £5,000. Tim would like to see pubs given support to be able to follow the lead of The Black Swan in Ravenstonedale, which has opened a community shop on the premises.

Residents of Ravenstonedale previously had to make a 12-mile round trip to buy a pint of milk, until landlady Louise Dinnes opened a village shop selling newspapers, groceries and local crafts.

Tim said: "It is important that we work hard to save our local pubs. I think that there a few simple steps we can do to really help these community assets. We need to freeze the beer tax, support our brewers and give small grants to pubs to house community facilities. By giving community pubs a small grant, we can help rural pubs diversify and bring back vital community services. I want to see the County Council back this scheme and commit to supporting rural areas."