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'Save our pubs with special smokers' rooms'

PUBLISHED: 15:57 18 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:08 12 August 2010

HIGH taxes on beer, the smoking ban and low supermarket prices on alcohol are crippling the pub trade in Britain, according to an MEP

HIGH taxes on beer, the smoking ban and low supermarket prices on alcohol are "crippling" the pub trade in Britain, according to an MEP for the south east.

Nigel Farage, who is leader of the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party, says the Government should do more to help the pub industry.

A number of pubs in and around Penge and Crystal Palace have shut, are up for sale or looking for new leaseholders.

In Penge, the Hop House, Maple Road closed some time ago and has permission to be turned into flats and the Hollywood at Penge East is still functioning but also has planning permission for housing.

The Queen Adelaide, High Street, is up for sale although there are no plans at the moment for a change of use.

The Farnborough-born MEP said: "You talk to any landlord in the pub industry today, and you find out that they are all struggling.

"Figures show that there are 39 pubs a week closing down, and that is a huge number. We must do more to help the pubs.

"We need to cut the tax on beer and we must stop supermarkets running these loss leader pricing policies.

"The smoking ban is another issue. Since it came in pubs have been struggling and we would like to see every pub with a smoking room."

The UK Independence Party has started a Save the Pub petition calling for a cut on the duty on beer lager and cider, a cut the business rates for pubs and separate smoking rooms so people can smoke indoors.

Mr Farage added: "The loss of a pub is devastating to the community. It has always been and always will be, a place to go to talk and meet and get together. There has to be a place where people can have the right to go and smoke and go and drink after work."

He also claimed a proposal announced on Monday by the Government's top medical advisor Sir Liam Donaldson to introduce a minimum price on alcohol of 50p a unit, was "unlawful".

He added: "It shows how out of touch he is. He's forgotten, if he ever knew, that we gave away that power to Brussels years ago. This would be an unlawful restriction on inter-community trade."

* To sign the petition visit www.savethepub.co.uk

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