Shepherd Neame's chairman questions pubs minister role

10 February 2010 by
Shepherd Neame's chairman questions pubs minister role

Miles Templeman, chairman of Kent-based brewer Shepherd Neame, has questioned what John Healey "will actually do" as Pubs Minister.

Templeman, who was speaking in his capacity as director general of the Institute of Directors, said:

"The creation of a "Pubs Minister" suggests that the Government is recognising the economic importance of pubs and the difficult business context in which many pubs are operating. Policy makers would do well to remember that 600,000 jobs are at stake in the pub industry. However, we do question what a minister with specific responsibility will actually do. Many of the problems that pubs face are a direct result of intrusive Government regulation and big increases in duties on drinks."

"Unless Pubs Minister John Healy is prepared to take on some of these tax and regulation issues, there is a question mark over the usefulness of his post. Rather than deal directly with the problems faced by small businesses, we sometimes get the impression that the Government would rather set up a taskforce or a review to examine the obstacles facing small businesses as a gesture. For the sake of the pub industry we hope this is not another example."

Healey, who is also Housing and Planning Minister, was unveiled as the Government's first Pubs Minister earlier this week. He has promised "practical help" for struggling pubs within the next few weeks.

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By Neil Gerrard

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