York takes leading role in new national campaign to protect Britain’s pubs

Photograph: Jonas Jacobsson / Unsplash
11 Jun 2020 @ 7.45 pm
| Food & Drink

A new campaign to protect and champion Britain’s pubs launched this evening – with York at its heart.

The Campaign for Pubs has been established by a group of prominent licensees, leading pub campaigners, small brewers and pub lovers including academics, musicians and actors.

Its chair is Paul Crossman, licensee of The Swan, The Slip Inn and Volunteer Arms in York.

And the new campaign’s HQ is the Volunteer Arms on Watson Street.

The Campaign for Pubs “is a dynamic mass membership group open to all who love and care about pubs”. It unites publicans, pub campaigners, customers and suppliers, including some of the UK’s leading smaller brewers. 

It will be pushing for a better, freer and fairer, more sustainable pub sector, with more pubs in the hands of those who genuinely care about them.

‘A real voice for pubs’

Pub campaigner Paul Crossman. Photograph: Gavin Aitchison

It was formed partly in response to the urgent need for a powerful voice for thousands of pubs facing possible oblivion due to the coronavirus shutdown.

The campaign is highlighting the many problems cruelly exposed by the current crisis, including

  • the business model and conduct of the large pub-owning companies
  • the weakness of the Pubs Code and Adjudicator
  • the attitude of the insurance industry,
  • and a lack of sufficient recognition within tax and planning law of the vital role pubs play in their communities.   

Paul said: “There is an urgent need for a dynamic new campaign group providing a real voice for pubs and those who love and support them and we will begin by calling for urgent action to support and save pubs facing huge losses due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

“The Campaign for Pubs will campaign vigorously, along with the British Pub Confederation, for more support for pubs now.

“We will then campaign for the key changes that are needed to deliver a more independent and sustainable future for pubs, one which will allow them to truly thrive as cornerstones of their communities as all pubs should.

“For less than the price of a pint a month, you can help stand up for pubs and publicans, so please join us today and fight for pubs!”

You can join up

Campaign director is Greg Mulholland, the former Leeds MP and founder of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group.

“It’s high time that all who are passionate about pubs came together to speak with one voice to campaign vigorously for a better, more independent future for pubs and I am delighted that the Campaign for Pubs has begun.

“We have lost too many pubs due to predatory purchasing, greed and apathy and it is time that we had a radical new grassroots campaign to bring communities together, publicans and customers, to say enough is enough and to fight to preserve pub culture and defend the key role pubs play in our communities, local economies and in our history and heritage.”

The Campaign for Pubs costs £25 a year to join, or £40 for a couple. Members will become part of a national network of those who care about pubs and their future, and their subscription will fund campaigning work on key issues.