COUNCILLORS have given their backing to a nationwide campaign aimed at highlighting the plight of British pubs. UK Independence Party (UKIP) councillors Steve Allison and Martyn Aiken handed over 1,000 beer mats to the landlady at the Owton Lodge pub, in Stockton Road, Hartlepool.
The beer mats are part of a nationwide campaign from UKIP to highlight the effect the smoking ban has had on pubs.
The party wants to see landlords given the power to decide whether to allow separate smoking rooms on their premises. They are also calling for the tax on real ales to be cut to support traditional beers.
Coun Allison, of the St Hilda ward, said: "UKIP believes pubs know their own customer base better than 'the man from Whitehall.' It should be the landlords who decide if their pub is non smoking or not and if they want a designated smoking room they should be allowed to have one as long as it is correctly signposted and the staff don't mind.
"Depending on what figures you read there are four or five pubs going out of business every day because of overtaxing and over zealous health and safety laws. That is a great shame because pubs are great social venues and surely it is better to have people drinking in a controlled environment like a pub.
"The punitive level of taxation on beer and spirits in pubs also reduces sales volume and hence revenue, forcing many pubs out of business."
Landlady June Hollifield, who has been at the Owton Lodge for five years, said: "I think it is a fantastic idea and anything that supports British pubs should be celebrated. "I was given 1,000 beer mats and they will be placed around the pub."
Gordon Parkin, UKIP's lead candidate for the European Parliament elections in June, was also present at the launch.
Any landlord who wants beer mats delivered to their premises should contact Dave Pascoe on (01429) 223754 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please sign our petition to Save The British Pub - http://www.savethepub.co.uk/petition.html
You can also download a poster for display at your local pub.