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UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge takes pub protection campaign to Westminster

Dudley | News | Published:

West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge will head to Westminster in his campaign to protect pubs.

Mr Etheridge has requested a meeting with the pubs minister, Marcus Jones MP, to seek assurances from the Government more will be done to protect profitable pubs from being taken over.

Campaign for Real Ale member Mr Etheridge, who is also a Sedgley councillor, has supported community groups such as those who have managed to save the Seven Stars in Gospel End Road, Sedgley, and the Hare and Hounds in Wollaston.

He said: "The West Midlands has been hit hard by recent deals which have thrown doubts over the future of 360 pubs.

"Legislation to protect against this has proved woefully inadequate and I want to know what this government plan to do about it.

"Profitable pubs like the Hare and Hounds and the Seven Stars should not be in the position they are in now.

"Once again, we have seen greedy corporations steering Government policy and it has to stop before the whole industry is destroyed."

Joining him in his campaign will be Martin Day, UKIP's regional 'save the pub' spokesman.

Former licensee Mr Day said: "Since 1989 the UK licensed trade has been the victim of some shockingly bad legislation.

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"Our aim is to start reversing the damage and reaffirm the status of the pub at the heart of our communities."

Back in November Mr Etheridge held talks with bosses of Punch Taverns as part of his effort to protect profitable pubs from being redeveloped.

Mr Etheridge met up with chief executive Duncan Garrood and PR director Andy Slee.

New River Retail has acquired 370 pubs from both Punch Taverns and Marstons, with many of these threatened with conversion, closure or the loss of car parking facilities.

Pubs targeted for supermarkets in recent months have included The Maypole in Halesowen, the Haden Cross in Cradley Heath and the Seven Stars.

Mr Etheridge has previously called the closure of pubs 'a depressing trend' and said it represents 'the homogenisation of society'.

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