More than 18,000 real ale drinkers have called on business secretary Vince Cable to create a pubs watchdog ahead of a Parliamentary debate on Tuesday.
Within 24 hours of Thursday’s launch of an online petition, the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) had gathered 15,000 signatures and was expected to top 19,000 by today. Camra has complained that publicans are treated unfairly by the big pub chains, which control about one-third of the industry, and a regulator would ensure that rents and wholesale prices are fair.
Landlords are often forced to buy beer from the pub companies which can inflate a publican’s costs by around 50p a pint. Camra chief executive Mike Benner said: “The whole point of this petition is to show how strong consumer opinion is. People are fed up with their pubs being closed ....”
He added: “This [the call for a pubs watchdog] has been going on for 10 years ... really, enough is enough and the Government should put this in the Queen’s Speech this year.”