In 45 years of campaigning, we've helped make history more than just once: in the past few years alone we've changed the law to protect all pubs in the planning system, lobbied for the introduction of a Pubs Code and Adjudicator to give licensees a fair deal, and we scrapped the much hated beer duty Escalator which would have seen the cost of a pint rise year on year.
Together we've secured a better future for the industry for generations to come – and here is a timeline of how we made it happen.
- Planning protection for pubs: After years of campaigning, in July 2017 the Government changed the law to protect all pubs in England through the planning system. This means that no pub can be demolished or converted into another use without the say of the local community.
- Budget Success for 3 years in a row: After a year-long campaign, the Chancellor scrapped the beer duty escalator in 2013 and cut beer duty in 2014 and 2015. In 2016 Beer duty was frozen.
- Assets of Community Value: CAMRA launched a campaign to encourage community groups to come together to nominate pubs as ACVs to give them greater protection from redevelopment. Since the campaign launched, we listed over 2,000 pubs as ACVs and secured changes to planning law to protect all pubs in England.
- Community Right to Buy – Over 70 pubs across the UK are now owned and being run by their local communities, many of which were facing closure before being saved by locals.
- Pubco Reform – After 10 years of campaigning and with the help of thousands of CAMRA supporters we were able to persuade the Government to change the law to protect 13,000 licensees across England from unfair business practices. These reforms include the introduction of a Statutory Code and Independent Adjudicator to ensure licensees are treated fairly and a Market Rent Only Option so that licensees tied to large pub companies can buy their beer on the open market.
- Huge increases in UK Breweries- Since CAMRA was founded the number of breweries operating in the UK has grown dramatically with over 1,600 appearing in the 2016 Good Beer Guide.
- LocAle Scheme Success – CAMRA LocAle is an initiative to promote pubs stocking locally brewed real ale; helping to grow consumer demand for quality local produce. The scheme is now run by over 125 CAMRA branches who have successfully persuaded pubs to stock locally brewed ale.
- Reduced Excise Duty for Lower Strength Beers Achieved – CAMRA successfully campaigned for a reduction in excise duty for lower strength beers, and the UK introduced a reduced rate (50% of the full rate) of excise duty for beers below 2.8% ABV in October 2011.
- Planning Policy Loopholes Investigated – CAMRA has been campaigning to close arcane planning loopholes that allow pubs to be converted into a supermarket, betting shop or completely demolished without requiring planning permission for a number of years.
- Sustainable Communities Act (England) Passed – CAMRA was one of the lead parties in the Local Works coalition which saw the Sustainable Communities Act become law in 2007. The Act is the perfect tool to call on Councils to support pubs by backing the closure of national planning loopholes.
- First Pubs Minister Appointed – In 2010 the Government announced the first ever post of a Community Pubs Minister to help coordinate actions on issues affecting pubs across various Government Departments.
- Licensing Reform and More Flexible Opening Hours - The 2003 Act gave licensees in England and Wales more flexibility in when they could open and close their pubs. It also transferred responsibility for licensing from magistrates to local authorities.
- Reduced Excise Duty for Small Brewers Achieved- In 2002 the Government introduced a reduced rate of excise duty for brewers producing less than 30,000 hectolitres. In 2004 this level was raised to 60,000 hectolitres; allowing small brewers to compete on a more level playing field with larger brewers.
- Extension of Mandatory Rate Relief to Public Houses
- Licensing Laws Reformed in England and Wales - leading to a more flexible licensing system through 2003 Licensing Act
- EU Threat to Guest Beer Averted – Despite attempts from the European Commission to ban the guest beer provision, CAMRA's successful lobbying averted this move and added a bottle of conditioned beer right for national brewers' lessees as well.
- Achieved the Guest Beer for lessees of National Brewers – Pressure from CAMRA ensured guest beer for lessees of National Brewers was defined as having to be a cask conditioned beer. This enabled these lessees to stock a cask conditioned beer of their choice supplied by whomever they wished; leading to a boom in new breweries.
- The 1989 MMC Report into the Supply of Beer – Following a two and a half year enquiry, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission published their report into 'The Supply of Beer in the UK'. CAMRA submitted substantial evidence and the Government responded with wide-reaching reforms called the Beer Orders. The Beer Orders forced the big six brewers to sell or free from tie over 11,000 pubs.
- Smashed the Big brewers stranglehold on UK pubs - In the 1970s and 1980s the Big Six brewers, Allied, Bass, Courage, Scottish & Newcastle, Watneys and Whitbread monopolised regions of the country. CAMRA lobbied against this lack of choice in Britain's pubs and gradually eroded these regional monopolies.
- Created a rich and varied choice of real ale – Hundreds of new breweries producing an exciting array of real ales are now available after CAMRA fought off efforts by the big brewers to replace traditional ales with tasteless key beers in the 70s.