Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Norwich landlady Dawn Hopkins has become something of an ambassador for the pub industry, and she was back at Westminster today helping to educate politicians about pub companies.
Mrs Hopkins, who runs the Ketts Tavern in Ketts Hill and the Rose in Queens Road, was invited to a Labour party round-table event at the House of Commons.
Let by shadow pubs minister Toby Perkins, the event was aimed at giving Labour MPs a better understanding of the issues surrounding plans for a statutory code and adjudicator for pubs.
The coalition claims the creation of the code and watchdog – which will oversee the relationship between publicans and large pub companies – will ensure publicans get a fair deal on rent and the prices they pay for beer.
Mrs Hopkins was one of about 20 publicans from across the country asked to help MPs understand the issue and therefore be able to debate and vote on the legislation when it is presented in parliament.
Afterwards, she said: “We had three discussion groups. One was looking at the ‘free of tie’ option, which has been touted, and what the alternative to it would be. Then there was adjudication and where to go to if you are having problems with your pub company, and finally, we talked about the rent review.
“Hopefully some of the points raised will be taken on board by the Labour party.
“It’s very nice to be asked to do this type of thing, and it’s much better for politicians to hear about what it’s like to run a pub from people in the thick of it. It was nice to have some input, but I don’t see myself going into politics.”
It was not the first time Mrs Hopkins has been called on by the politicians.
Last summer, she attended the Labour party’s annual business reception where she quizzed Ed Miliband and Ed Balls about the state of the pub industry.
And in December last year she was the only publican in the UK to address a rally in London following a mass parliamentary lobby calling for MPs to back the great British pub.