Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, is celebrating this years British Pubs Week by making plans to visit a few hostelries in his constituency over the weekend, and by announcing a local ‘Pubs and Clubs Summit’ where he wants to hear from local publicans, club stewards and club committee members about the issues facing them in their day to day work.
Tom said “This week is British Pubs Week – an annual event organised by the British Beer and Pubs Association – and I’m going to mark it by hopefully getting a bit of time away from routine constituency work by visiting some local pubs and clubs in the constituency over the weekend.”
“I am also planning to hold, in the coming months, a local ‘Pubs and Clubs Summit’ where I can meet – over a good pint – local pub tenants, managers, club stewards and club committee members to hear what their concerns are, and to see if I can help with any of these problems by raising them in the Commons and with Ministers.”
“Local pubs and clubs are often the backbone of social life in this area, particularly in the small East Cleveland villages, and pubs and clubs do an awful lot of quiet and unrecognised fund raising for local charities and good causes.”
“But I know that tenants and stewards have problems too. For pub tenants it is all too often having to deal with their faceless Pub Owning Companies, who often just see them as machines for raising rental revenues, and seem happy to shut pubs if they cannot get a high rent return. They also face problems too with Red Tape, such as dealing with complicated planning regulations when they want to make some simple improvements to their pubs.”
“Club stewards and club committee members, too, have their issues. Club Committee members are volunteers – but they have legal responsibilities to bear in such areas as VAT and drawing up annual accounts. Such things should be simplified so as to allow them more time to devote to building up and promoting clubs.”
“These are all problems which I feel could be simply overcome, and could allow for our local pubs and clubs to sustain themselves in these dark economic times.”