CAMRA hosts its annual Westminster Reception

On Wednesday 9th March CAMRA once again welcomed MPs, Lords and industry leaders to its annual Westminster Reception, hosted by Simon Hoare MP. CAMRA volunteers from across the country were able to speak directly to MPs and Lords about some of the issues affecting beer drinkers and pub-goers, including CAMRA’s campaign to cut beer duty by another 1p in the Chancellor’s Budget next week.

Marcus Jones, Pubs Minister

The Pubs Minister Marcus Jones used the event to publicly introduce a Pubs Loan Fund, which will provide £1.5 million of vital funding for community groups hoping to take over and run their local pub in order to keep it at the heart of their community. The loan will be led by the Plunkett foundation and delivered by several community organisations including CAMRA. The host, Simon Hoare MP and CAMRA’s National Chairman, Colin Valentine, also spoke on the evening.

Colin Valentine, CAMRA National Chairman

Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman, discussed a report recently published by Oxford University “which proves that your local is good for you, for your happiness, mental and physical health and engagement in your community. We need to protect pubs by requiring planning permission to be sought whenever an owner wants to convert a pub to another use.”

Charlotte Lesie MP, Colin Valentine, Greg Mulholland MP

CAMRA’s also congratulated two MPs for their work in the Westminster Parliament over the last year by presenting them with CAMRA’s Parliamentarian of the Year Award. Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie was applauded for her work in campaigning for an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill to protect all pubs under the planning system from demolition or change of use. Thanks to her efforts, the Government removed Permitted Development Rights for all pubs listed as Assets of Community Value (ACVs), sparking CAMRA’s campaign to nominate 3,000 pubs as ACVs by the end of 2016. So far, over 1,200 pubs have been protected under the new legislation.

Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland was recognised for his years of tirelessly campaigning to deliver pubco reform for pub tenants tied to large companies. Thanks to his efforts, a Pubs Code to govern the relationship between tenants and companies and an Adjudicator to rule on disputes will come into effect in May this year. In addition, CAMRA has welcomed the announcement that a Market Rent Only option will be offered to all tenants at their rent review, who will not have to wait for a rent increase to trigger the option.

The evening was well attended and guests enjoyed a wide selection of real ales and ciders on the evening, including beers from Dark Star, Tiny Rebel, Bateman’s, Titanic and Williams Bros.