The closure of pubs

Resolution on the closure of pubs – adopted at our District Congress 4 Dec 2022.
“Public Houses are a working class resource that has been stolen by monopoly capitalism.”

We believe that pubs are an important social community amenity particularly in small remote villages. In Britain last year 290 pubs were demolished or converted to another use, and more than 500 pubs were in long term closure but still classed as pubs for planning purposes. The covid pandemic forced many pubs to shut their doors for the last time and put scores of workers out of work.

The demise of many pubs and the threat to those remaining must be seen in the context of global monopoly capitalism. The main expression of this in Britain was The Beer Orders (1992). In the name of competition, and breaking up vertical monopolies, the Major government legally broke the “tie” between brewers and the pubs they rented to landlords.

The pubs went to property developers such as Inntrepreneur and Enterprise Inns. Their pubs were set up to fail so that the building or land could be redeveloped for housing. Big British brewers such as Whitbread (which was once a major employer in Gloucester) withdrew from brewing to concentrate on “hospitality.” Whitbread’s main asset is now Premier Inn hotels.

Global brewing is now controlled by four monopolies who produce 60% of the world’s beer. If China (the largest producer and consumer of beer, with three leading breweries not in the big four) is excluded, the monopolies have over 70% of global production. In Africa and the Americas the domination is well over 80%.

Public Houses are a working class resource that has been stolen by monopoly capitalism. Trade unions in the hospitality industry must be the focus of our campaigns to retain these working class amenities in both rural and urban areas.

Party branches should make contact with and support local groups campaigning to save their local pubs, and gather further support through trade unions, trade councils and other affiliated bodies.