9 months ago

Canny Bevvy 243

Issue 243 of Canny Bevvy spring 2018

Campaigning for real

Campaigning for real ale, pubs & drinkers’ rights since 1971 REVITALISATION PROJECT The propositions to vote upon are as follows:- • CAMRA should remain the Campaign for Real Ale. • CAMRA should promote the virtues of well-produced, well-kept, caskconditioned beer as the pinnacle of the brewer’s craft. • CAMRA should re-assert its definition of real ale and undertake an analysis, led by an appropriate group under direction of the National Executive, of whether or not there is cask beer on sale today that fails to meet this definition. • CAMRA should adopt a neutral position on the use of cask breathers. • CAMRA should develop a campaigning strategy for real ale that should both advocate its consumption and articulate how it is positioned in relation to the rest of the Campaign’s activity. • CAMRA should campaign for real cider and perry to be more widely available, alongside real ale, for consumers to enjoy. • CAMRA should develop a campaigning strategy for real cider and perry to articulate how it is positioned and advocated in relation to the rest of the Campaign’s activity. • The National Executive should consider the provision of a specific budget for real cider and perry campaigning. • Furthermore, in the interests of clarity cider and perry should be referred to explicitly in future CAMRA documents, where reference to these drinks is intended, and it should no longer be assumed that the term real ale intrinsically includes them. • CAMRA should seek to promote awareness and understanding of the different factors that contribute to beer quality, to help consumers make an informed judgement about the relative merits of different types of beer. It should do this while advocating and promoting well-produced, well-kept cask-conditioned ale as the pinnacle of the brewer’s craft and campaigning for traditional British beer styles to be safeguarded and celebrated. In practice, this means that CAMRA should: • Permit the stocking of British beers that do not meet the definition of real ale at CAMRA beer festivals. • Display educational material alongside other beer types, explaining how these differ from real ale. This should also apply to foreign beers. • Ensure the layout of festivals and literature associated with them reinforces CAMRA’s belief in the superiority of cask-conditioned ale. • Widen the types of beer available at the Great British Beer Festival, upon adoption of this recommendation. • Inform and educate members, other consumers and the trade about good beers of all types, while highlighting the comparative excellence of real ale. • CAMRA should celebrate well run community pubs and clubs as unique British institutions capable of delivering vast social benefits and should, as a priority, battle to arrest the decline in their numbers. • CAMRA should develop a campaigning strategy for pubs that should articulate how this work is positioned and advocated in relation to other activity. • The special position held by pubs and clubs in community life, and their paramount importance at the heart of CAMRA’s objectives, should be upheld. • CAMRA should seek to improve the range and quality of beer available in all on-trade venues, and encourage the provision of high-quality real ale (and/or cider and perry). • CAMRA should champion the drinking of real ale in communal settings and should not increase its support for the off-trade. • Within this over-arching direction, CAMRA’s National Executive should review the Campaign’s strategic position with regard to the off-trade, both in commercial and campaigning terms. • CAMRA should establish a committee composed of CAMRA members connected with the brewing industry and licensed trade. The committee should be charged with considering ways in which the Campaign can enhance and develop its reputation as the principal and most credible arbiter of quality in beer and pubs. • It should take into account existing practices around the Good Beer Guide, WhatPub, and the Champion Beer of Britain and Pub of the Year competitions to ensure consistency and integrity throughout, as well as considering new opportunities, and should make recommendations to the National Executive. • The National Executive, advised by the Stakeholder Committee, should consider the option of CAMRA launching a quality mark (along the lines of the CAMRA says this is real ale badge for bottle-conditioned beer) to be applied more widely to the products or outlets, or both, that the Campaign supports. • Educating and informing its members, the trade and the wider public about beer should be core to CAMRA’s campaigning approach and this should be reflected in its publications, communications and marketing activities. This principle should be at the heart of CAMRA’s ethos and campaigning activity at branch, regional and national levels. • The Membership Committee’s development of the Beer Drinker’s Journey should underpin a shift in emphasis, resulting in a more proactive approach to developing knowledge and understanding of real ale and pubs/clubs. • CAMRA should explore commercial options for developing a training arm – either independently or in partnership with established operators – to offer a range of courses. • CAMRA should be at the forefront of challenging the anti-alcohol lobby and promoting the benefits of responsible, social drinking in the on-trade. • CAMRA should identify and develop credible spokespeople and seek out media opportunities to challenge attacks on moderate alcohol consumption. • CAMRA should commission research to assist in the presentation of a credible alternative narrative to the messages emanating from the antialcohol and public health lobbies. • CAMRA should explore the possibility of creating a wider independent campaign, dedicated to supporting the rights of responsible drinkers across the board on this issue while retaining the Campaign’s focus on responsible drinking of beer and cider in pubs and clubs. • CAMRA should remain not-for-profit, independent and free of party political affiliation. • CAMRA should seek to form partnerships and alliances with other organisations when their aims and objectives support or coincide with specific campaigns • CAMRA should continue to oppose other organisations when their actions or intentions go against the interests of beer, cider and perry drinkers and, more widely, those people who choose to drink in public social settings. You can find out more online at 20 Issue 243 • Spring 2018

Campaigning for real ale, pubs & drinkers’ rights since 1971 THE BRANCH RECENTLY MET WITH THREE OF OUR LOCAL MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT Chi Onwurah, Newcastle Central , Katherine Mckinnell, Newcastle North and Mary Glindon, North Tyneside to discuss a range of campaigning issues and gain support for future campaigns. Here are some of the points we covered in the series of meetings included. The Pubs Code Adjudicator The pubs code has been in effect for over a year now and in theory protects landlords leasing from pub companies from unfair treatment and allows them the option to go rent only and buy in beer from a different supplier, instead of buying what they are told at the price the pub company set. To oversee all this an adjudicator was picked. Paul Newby (a former chartered surveyor who acted for some of Britain’s biggest pub companies) in his first year on the job has received over 550 complaints and has only settled 48 so far and a fair number of the ones he has settled went on to appeal his decision according to recent reports. Not exactly a stellar performance and further questions have been raised in the media regarding the fact he is a shareholder at Fleurrets, a company that makes a fair amount of money working with pub companies including surveying and selling off pubs. Business rates Business rates have recently been reviewed across the country for all kinds of businesses and it seems the burden of the new system has really hit pubs. CAMRA managed to get a reduction of £1,000 for most small pubs in the last budget but that is no long term guarantee that the pubs will not be hit in the future plus in Newcastle the Business Improvement District fee and the Late Night Levy are both linked to your rateable value, so some of our regions pubs could be hit threefold. Beer Duty Escalator The beer duty escalator introduced in 2008 puts up the price of a pint of beer 2% above inflation ever year, the result has been a 42% tax hike since 2008 CAMRA have been fighting this since day one and still it remains in place. We have on a couple of recent budgets been spared, not least as inflation has not been much of an issue but the escalator still remains in place. The Bank of England recently stated they expect inflation to rise more sharply than previously stated - around 3% over 3 years - that could mean beer duty rises 9% by 2021. Late Night Levy Something that has dominated my page in the Canny Bevvy for many issues. The introduction of the Late Night Levy in Newcastle was immediately followed by a third of pubs licensed after midnight closing earlier to avoid paying. The money raised has not seen a reduction in late night crime. The Late Night Levy is being looked at in parliament as we speak and with any luck would be abolished and replaced with a scheme were pubs that cause trouble and mess can pay for the policing and cleaning instead of putting financial burden onto every pub in the Newcastle area. Working conditions for pub trade A lot has been made in the press about minimum wage and zero hour contracts at places like Sports Direct or Amazon, however a large portion of workers in the pub industry are in the same position. I can report first hand of pubs in Newcastle who have a policy to never pay for staff taxis no matter how late they work, pay minimum wage on Christmas Day and state in the contract that the company in question does not recognise any unions. The branch feels the meetings went well and thank our members of parliament for their time and continued efforts supporting CAMRA’s aims. Paul Hillhouse Public Affairs Officer Issue 243 • Spring 2018 21

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