Beer and Pub Taxation — [James Gray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:37 pm on 5th February 2020.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham 3:37 pm, 5th February 2020

I congratulate my hon. Friend Mike Wood on securing the debate. I will be brief.

We have over 100 pubs in my constituency, many of which I have already visited, and I pledge today to have visited them all by the time of the next general election. As my hon. Friend for Dudley South has said, in many parts of my constituency pubs are the last community facility. I support the recent business rate changes but want them to go much further. I also support relief for small breweries and hope to see the cliff edge removed. That cliff edge particularly affects Consett Ale Works, a brewery in my constituency located behind The Grey Horse. I look forward to getting its beer behind the bar at the Strangers’ before the summer recess.

As an MP, I personally back all local pubs in my constituency, including by holding meetings and surgeries in them. However, I was recently attacked by some local Labour activists for holding surgeries in licensed premises in my constituency. It has come to something in our country when Labour activists are attacking the Tory MP for North West Durham for holding surgeries in the Steel Club in Consett. I continue to support the Long Live the Local campaign, and urge colleagues on both sides of the Chamber to ignore the woke, new-age temperance movement and back their local pubs. I hope that the Minister will pass on our collective pleas regarding the Budget to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.