Several constituents have contacted me recently about supporting our pubs. I have been a long-time supporter of the Campaign for Real Ale and appreciate that pubs play a crucial role in the social and economic life of our communities.

Pubs are important assets – the British Beer and Pub Association estimate that each pub contributes £80,000 each year to its local economy, and they provide local hubs that strengthen community relationships.

The Government has introduced a range of measures to demonstrate its support for pubs, which include:

  • Providing a £1,000 discount on business rates bills in 2017 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 - 90 per cent of pubs;

  • Providing local authorities with a £300 million fund to deliver discretionary relief on business rates to target individual hard cases in their local areas;

  • Providing £350,000 to Pub is The Hub and the Plunkett Foundation between 2013 to 2016 to help pubs provide a wide range of community-focussed services;

  • Introducing the National Planning Policy Framework which makes clear the need to deliver the social, recreational and cultural facilities that communities require;

  • Permanently doubling Small Business Rate Relief from 50 per cent to 100 per cent for properties with a rateable value below £12,000. This means that 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all. A further 50,000 business will receive tapered relief;

  • Scrapping the last administration's plans for a 10 per cent rise in cider duties (this is now allowed to rise with RPI in Spring Budget 2017)

  • Freezing duty on beer and spirits (now allowed to rise with RPI in Spring Budget 2017);

  • Scrapping the beer duty escalator which would have further increased beer duty every year. It is estimated that by 2016/17 there will be 21,000 more jobs in the pub industry, than if the duty escalator had continued until 2015;

  • Introducing the Live Music Act 2012 which makes it easier for pubs to play live music;

  • Giving pubs greater flexibility over weights and measures, allowing beer and wine to be served in different sizes;

  • Giving publicans tied to pub companies new rights under a statutory code of practice.

Following the Government’s tax cuts in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and the freezing of duty rates last year, drinkers are paying 11p less in tax on a typical pint this year than they otherwise would have paid.

Pubs are an important part of local communities and I will continue to support them.