I share the sadness whenever a well-used pub closes for any reason, and there is a particular impact on the community when that pub is a heritage building in a town, city or village.
Last autumn, 116,000 people up and down the country signed the Long Live the Local campaign—many of them emailing their MPs. It was launched by Britain’s Beer Alliance, and quickly garnered public support from licensees, beer drinkers and many more groups. I know that the success of that petition due to everybody who united behind the campaign was pivotal in persuading the Treasury of the need for action to support beer and pubs. I am delighted that the Chancellor listened to those passionate calls and froze beer duty once again.
The beer and pub sector is vital to our country. Nearly 900,000 people up and down the United Kingdom rely on the industry for work; 43% are younger people aged 16 to 24, and more than half are women. Supporting the pub trade is a fantastic way to reduce youth unemployment and develop skills among young people. This House saw at first hand the impact of apprenticeships across the hospitality sector and the opportunities available, during the apprenticeship showcase in National Apprenticeship Week.