I congratulate my hon. Friend Mike Wood on securing this debate. My brief speech will not be a tale of gloom and doom, but will be about success and Bar SO16, a new pub set up by the community—I went to its opening on Friday night. It was incredibly badly timed because it was still dry January. The community found an investor and premises and really pulled behind a new venture in an area that has lost both the Stile and the Stoneham Arms in the past few years. So that is a success story.
In Nether Wallop, the community has come together with a neighbourhood plan and the Five Bells is going through the process to be registered as an asset of community value. People are optimistic that they will get a pub that has been closed for seven years back up and running again. Likewise, people in Longparish are pursuing the same objective for the Plough Inn.
The challenge is not finding the community that wishes to pull behind its local. It is finding the economic environment in which it can thrive. I respectfully point out to my hon. Friend the Minister that that is about the taxation of beer, as we have heard this afternoon—I will not bore anybody with stats again—and it is about business rates. It is about making sure that we have an environment in which the pubs we are hearing about this afternoon from all corners of the Chamber have the circumstances in which they can not only set up, but go on to thrive.