A (very) brief foray into politics

Posted on April 15, 2010

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I’m not much of a political animal and tonight’s first ever live party leader debate clashes with DIY SOS I’m unlikely to see it. If like me you have a secret crush on Nick Knowles (yes, I do realise just how wrong that is) courtesy of the BBPA here are the specific extracts from the three main parties manifestos which refer either to alcoholic drinks or pubs.
BEER

Labour
We all have a responsibility to look after our own health, supported by our family and our employer. The ban on smoking in public places will be maintained. Wherever necessary, we will act to protect children’s health from tobacco, alcohol and sunbeds.
But people are still worried about binge drinking, problem families and anti-social behaviour. We are committed to tackling these problems, not talking them up to run Britain down. 
And alcohol treatment places will be trebled to cover all persistent criminals where alcohol is identified as a cause of their crimes.
Conservative
Raise taxes on those drinks linked to antisocial drinking, while abolishing Labour’s new ‘cider tax’ on ordinary drinkers.
Liberal Democrat
Reduce the ill health and crime caused by excessive drinking. We support a ban on below-cost selling, and are in favour of the principle of minimum pricing, subject to detailed work to establish how it could be used in tackling problems of irresponsible drinking. We will also review the complex, ill-thought-through system of taxation for alcohol to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries.
PUBS

Labour
To tackle the binge drinking which can leave people reluctant to venture into town centres at night, we have banned irresponsible promotions and strengthened police and council powers to close down rowdy pubs and clubs, cracking down on under-age and public drinking. We have brought in a right to petition local authorities to end 24-hour licensing where problems arise.
The local pub and social club are also hubs of community life. Too many pubs have closed that could have been sustained by local people. We will support pubs that have a viable future with a new fund for community ownership in 2010-11. Councils must take full account of the importance of pubs to the local community when assessing proposals that change their use, and we will make it more difficult to demolish pubs. Restrictive covenants applied by pub companies to property sales will be curbed and flexibility for pubs to provide related services promoted, making it easier to have live entertainment without a licence. A non-tie option should be available for pub tenants; we will act if the industry fails to make progress on this. 
Rural villages should never be left without essential services. Councils now have to ensure that the importance of local services to the community is taken into account before granting planning permission to change their use, and we will strengthen this to protect viable shops, pubs and community facilities. We will continue to encourage and support imaginative solutions in rural communities to the provision of locally owned services.
Conservative
Under Labour’s lax licensing regime, drink-fuelled violence and disorder are a blight on many communities. We will overhaul the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems. In addition, we will: allow councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found persistently selling alcohol to children; double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000; raise taxes on those drinks linked to antisocial drinking, while abolishing Labour’s new ‘cider tax’ on ordinary drinkers; ban off-licences and supermarkets from selling alcohol below cost price; and, permit local councils to charge more for latenight licences to pay for additional policing.
Nothing underlines the powerlessness that many communities feel more than the loss of essential services, like post offices and pubs, because of decisions made by distant bureaucrats. Our new ‘community right to buy’ scheme will give local people the power to protect any community assets that are threatened with closure. 
Liberal Democrat
Cut red tape for putting on live music. We will reintroduce the rule allowing two performers of unamplified music in any licensed premises without the need for an entertainment licence, allow licensed venues for up to 200 people to host live music without the need for an entertainment licence, and remove the requirement for schools and hospitals to apply for a licence.

THE TIE

 Labour
Restrictive covenants applied by pub companies to property sales will be curbed and flexibility for pubs to provide related services promoted, making it easier to have live entertainment without a licence. A non-tie option should be available for pub tenants; we will act if the industry fails to make progress on this.
Conservative
There are no policy proposals in the Conservative manifesto on the tie.
Prior to publication of the manifesto, a spokesman for David Cameron was quoted as saying:
“The Conservative Party supports the idea that should the industry fail to deliver self-regulation by June 2011, the Government of the day should end up consulting on putting the Code of Practice on a statutory basis. The Government have agreed to this and we are happy with this position.”
This statement is a clear reference to expectations around the implementation of the Industry’s Code of Practice, not a commitment to take specific action on the tie.

Liberal Democrat
There are no policy proposals in the Lib Dem manifesto on the tie.
Obviously it’s all meaningless to me because as a lady, if the Daily Mail is to be believed, my vote will go to whichever party leader’s wife has the nicest toe nails.
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