Business secretary Vince Cable was accused of dragging his heels over new laws to crack down on the “unfair” relationship pub companies have with landlords.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Labour called for the government to bring forward proposals to prevent pub companies from forcing landlords to buy their beer and to bring in an adjudicator by July in a debate where Norfolk pubs including the Bee Hive in Sprowston and the Maids Head in Old Catton were mentioned by local MPs.

Labour’s Norwich North prospective candidate Jessica Asato challenged her political opponent Norwich North MP Chloe Smith to vote for the Labour Party motion for legislation.

She said: “It’s been a year now since the Government agreed to put in place regulation to protect publicans from being exploited but they still haven’t lifted a finger. Many people in Norwich rely on their local pub as a social hub, just the other week we saw the closure of the Beehive Pub leaving just one pub in the whole of Sprowston. Without this regulation more local pubs will go under.”

But Ms Smith, who spoke in the debate, said she would be voting with the government, which tabled an amendment saying it would publish a response to proposals as soon as it could, but did not commit to the July deadline.

She said: “I believe the government is taking action and I believe it is important to get that done in good quality rather than rush it for political expediency.”

Ms Smith highlighted the case of The Bee Hive in Sprowston, which is set to be turned into and East of England Co-Operative store.

She hit out at the fact that it was “too late” for residents to act to make it a community asset, after it only emerged this month that it had been sold by Greene King to the East of England Co-Operative’s retail arm.

She also spoke of cases of challenges for pubs. “Like every member here I’m aware of instances in my own constituency in my time as an MP. I can mention The Bull at Hellesdon, an Enterprise Inn. It was one of the first pieces of case work I took up as an MP. “And the Maids Head in Old Catton, also an Enterprise Inn.”

Ms Smith also praised the Norwich Evening News Love your Local campaigns which she said did something very practical in favour of what can be quite a beleaguered trade.

Dawn Hopkins, landlady at The Rose pub in Norwich was set to attend the debate as representative of Licensees Supporting Licensees.

She said: “The Labour Party debate is very welcome indeed - the government need to act now to stop pubs closing and licensees being exploited by the major pub companies. They have all the reports, they have all of the evidence, it’s time that they listened to licensees and the public and do what they said they would.”

10 comments

  • It's funny that people still cite the anti-smoking law as a reason for the demise of pubs. I frequent pubs far more now than i used to, and my circle of around 25 pals do so too. It was the stink of smoke that restricted a poor old asthmatic like me from enjoying otherwise great pubs. Do we really want to return to the days when people could pollute the air we breathed, making our clothes stink and damaging our health? We have lost far too many pubs due to the "strategic" actions of pubco's like Enterprise Inns. We need to protect most of the pubs we have left, get as many of them out of the hands of the pubco's and into the hands of people who know what they're doing and are incentivised to make a success of them.

    Report this comment

    Tom Jeffries

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Yes we are where we are, but when the life blood was milked out of the country what do you expect. The Labour government almost destroyed us and they now want to be the hero's, crooks the lot of them. People have short memories, I wonder how bankrupt we would be if Labour had of stayed in?

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

  • Sweet cheeks, we are where we are. The government have done nothing in a year since proposing this. Chloe Smith, your darling Tory MP, says " I believe it is important to get that done in quality rather than rush it". How long do they need, a century maybe? Could it be pubcos contribute to Tory party funds? Meanwhile we are losing pubs apace.

    Report this comment

    Derek Colman

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • what's Chloe know about drinking, she's hardly old enough! As for smoking in pubs - some in Germany have notices on the door declaring 'Smoking Allowed'. Is this something else we've gone over the top in Britain? If some were advertised as smoking pubs we would have the choice.

    Report this comment

    beverley

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

  • Whatever whoever The way forward must be taken soon Chloe Smith the honourable Member should be pushing her party forward rapidly before we the residents of Hellesdon lose the Bull which ahas already been run down Representation was made to the Parish of Hellesdon Council but still nothing solid heard to the request to protect this Pub

    Report this comment

    edifir

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • The Landlordlady should decide on smoking in their pubs and not the government.Its their business and its takings and not the governments ! The Nanny State requiring total control,a socialist dream which is pushed along by people who think they know better than the person who runs a business

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Sweet cheeks you are right. Those wasters were actually responsible for the demise of the pub with their no smoking law.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • I obviously agree with Sweet cheeks.

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Labour rightly are pointing to the front page coverage Lamb and Clegg got in North Norfolk being heralded as the saviours of the local pub. Three years since they came to power, one year after claiming legislation was on the way there has been no action. Is it any wonder there was such discomfort when David Cameron got front page coverage about the A47 last week? All they can do is play the blame game and offer no answers.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • In all the years Labour were in power what did they do for the pub industry? Absolutely nothing, they just milked them for tax like they did everybody else.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT