Tuesday 7 September 2010

Yakety Shapps, Don't Talk Crap

While tidying up dusty corners of the RSS reader after my little break, I find this ostrich posturing from Grant Shapps.

3500 pubs closed under Labour

Ministers today called for Labour to apologise for all the community pubs that closed their doors thanks to the Labour Government’s policies.
Well, it would be start, I suppose, though I suspect Labour's militant puritan wing would rather shove conker husks up their sphincters than do anything for pubs.

Official figures show there was a net closure of 3,530 pubs across England under Labour from 1997 to 2010.

[Grant Shapps, Minister for Local Government said] "Labour must apologise for the harm they did to community pubs across the country."

In contrast, the new Government is doing its best to defend local pubs:
Sounds great! How you doing that then, fella?

- [...] the Government will allow communities to bid to take on [...] community pubs, where they are up for sale.
- More help will be given to firms to help them with business rates
- There will be a ban the sale of alcohol below cost price, helping protect local pubs from unfair ‘loss leading’ by some supermarkets.
- The Government is reforming licensing rules to make it easier to play live music in local pubs.
- The new Government has already scrapped the planned 10% rise in cider duties - the so-called "cider tax".
Nice one, that'll save a couple of hundred. Sorry to interrupt, do carry on.

Oh, I see. You've finished.

And then it becomes clear why Shapps uses the 3,000 odd closures since 1997 instead of the scarier figure of 6,500 since the Licensing Act 2003, more than 5,700 of those since 2007 (pub stocks were rising until 2003). It's so he doesn't have to mention that law - highly relevant to pubs, oddly enough - which mustn't be mentioned in Westminster.

Two out of three Tory MPs voted against a blanket ban in the Health Act 2006, but now, with the ban happy EU lapdog Lib Dems ball-and-chained to all of their ankles, the elephant must be left to stomp around the hospitality industry unfettered.

So that's the coalition's miracle plan for pubs laid out, following hot on the heels of David Miliband's hospitality wonder cure, with not even a passing mention, in all their self-aggrandising hot air, of the issue which has caused as much - if not more - damage than all of the others combined.

These arrogant, self-serving, mendacious tax gobblers take the biscuit, the cake, and the whole fucking bakery, they really do. They have little regard for anyone but their clique of Westminster bubble lobbyists, civil servants and quangoes, and deserve nothing but our utter and eternal contempt in return.

Change? What fucking change?


Mark Wadsworth said...

Truly vomit inducing.

As a tax geek, let me point out that all the yapping about beer duty being bad for pubs is, on closer inspection, complete bollocks - as beer duty tends to reduce price differential between supermarkets and pubs.

The real killer tax is VAT which increases the price differential and makes pubs even more (relatively) expensive.

Apart from lifting the smoking ban, the best thing they could do is reduce VAT a lot and hike beer duty, but they can't reduce VAT because EU says it must be 20 per cent.

Curmudgeon said...

Did you see this article about how anti-pub the coalition's licensing reform plans are?

As I've said before, the best thing the government can do for pubs is just leave them alone. The pub industry might well feel that Ronald Reagan had it right when he said: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I'm here to help.’”

Anonymous said...

The politicians are not listening
because not enough are shouting.
One fine day ,all the anti ban
bloggers,webbers and campaigns will
sit round the same table and map
out a united assault,first on the
agenda a lot more shouters.On those who choose to follow their own narrow paths,on these we can
put the blame for the current sorry
state of affairs.

Waiting in hope

Anonymous said...

Unless they take the blinkers off the next headline will be 3500 Pubs close under the coalition.
But that is the other motive behind the ritcheous attack on the smoker ,the ritcheous crusade against the Pub.
Snce the early days of proohibition the anti smoking movement and the prohibitionist movement have had very close links.