Thursday, October 14, 2010

Norwich South MP ignores the elephant in the room about pubs

Simon Wright, the Liberal Democrat MP for Norwich South has recently made a big play on his blog about how he is standing up for the city pubs in his areas and listening to their concerns.

However he ignored one issue, which has played a massive role in the closing down of pubs and a reduction in pub sale. That being the smoking ban. Pub landlords and customers apparently didn’t raise the issue. However from comments I have heard from pub landowners I personally find this hard to believe. With this in mind, I commented on his article below and have sent an email to him on the matter, which I will wait for a response on. I have copied the letter I wrote into this blog.

Mr Wright a serious issue affecting pubs is the smoking ban in public places. Since this has been in place in the UK, it has had a destructive effect on pub trade and pub numbers. I find it surprising therefore that you did not raise this issue. Considering that 25% of the country smoke, shutting out this percentage of the population from the pub was always going to have an effect on pub trade.

Additionally David Nuttall on Wednesday set up a ten-minute rule bill to amend the smoking ban in public places that would allow separate smoking rooms with air ventilation. By doing this health concerns would be allayed, pub trade would go up and smokers would head back to the pubs. You did not vote on this. Considering this bill was all about saving British pubs, which you are apparently committed to, I find this strange. This is not an isolated incident as you did not sign Brian Binley's EDM that called for a similar amendment to the smoking ban in public places.

If you truly want to stand up for local pubs, will you take this issue up and bring the issue up in parliament in the future?

Yours Sincerely,

Stephen Hoffman

PS: Watch this space for the response.