John Healey becomes minister for pubs

08 February 2010 by
John Healey becomes minister for pubs

Wentworth MP John Healey has been appointed as the UK's first Minister for Pubs.

Healey, who is also Housing Minister and Local Government Minister, will be tasked with helping pubs to survive the recession by becoming the centre of the community they serve.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said that Healey would work alongside ministers from other departments whose policies affect pubs in a bid to adopt a unified approach to the industry.

"It is a cross-Whitehall ministerial team led by John Healey. There will be a minister from each department including the Treasury, Department for Culture Media and Sport, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department of Health," a spokesman said.

Commenting on his appointment, Healey said: "Pubs are often at the heart of community life. And they are important meeting places for many people. While we can't stop every pub from closing it's right we do everything possible to back them. But they need help now so I am determined to have a deal on the table with a package of practical help in the next few weeks."

Healey is said to be considering offering business tax breaks and relaxing planning laws in order to allow pubs to provide extra services.

He is also mulling giving tenants the right to buy pubs threatened by closure from pub companies, making it harder to demolish long-standing pubs.

New powers for councils to ban 24-hour licences in problem areas >>

New powers for police to tackle problem pubs and underage drinkers >>

Government resists calls for minimum alcohol price >>

By Neil Gerrard

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