British Pubs

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:42 am on 23rd February 2010.

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Photo of John Grogan John Grogan Labour, Selby 11:42 am, 23rd February 2010

Those words give me great encouragement from the only other Bradford City supporter in the House-as far as I am aware.

The phrase "pub is the hub" has been used in the debate, but it is also the name of an organisation. Under the guidance of John Longden, Pub is the Hub has saved many pubs, by bringing together post offices and shops in pubs. Some consistent funding, perhaps from regional development agencies, is needed for it, because it has probably done more than any other organisation to help save individual pubs.

Sport on TV has been mentioned by a number of hon. Members. Many marginal pubs rely on sport on TV. For example, many are looking forward to the World cup later this year. There is a relationship between this debate and that on listed events. I hope that before Parliament rises Ministers will confirm the new list of sporting events that must be available on free-to-air TV, because some pubs will never be able to afford subscription TV.

I think that it was Hilaire Belloc who said that the pub is the very heart of England. [Interruption.] I say that with sympathy for my Gaelic friends and for my Irish background, but I am sure that Belloc's comments have wider resonance throughout the United Kingdom.

Many hon. Members mentioned the numerous activities that take place in pubs. Only yesterday, at the Jug Inn at Chapel Haddlesey in my constituency-in the heart of England and the heart of Yorkshire-Councillor Jack Davie made a great presentation for the British Heart Foundation. He has made it part of his life's work to visit all the pubs in the area to help that charity.

Through the efforts of the hon. Member for Ribble Valley, my good friend, and the responses that we look forward to hearing from the Front Benches, I hope that although the pub will not be centre stage it will certainly play a part in the general election, and that candidates up and down the land will receive letters asking for their proposals and their views on the issues that face the British pub.