TV chef launches e-petition to amend smoking ban
TV chef and publican Antony Worrall Thompson has launched an e-petition calling on the government to review the smoking ban.
The text of the petition is:
"We petition the Government to review the impact of the smoking ban on pubs and clubs and consider an amendment that would give licensees the option of separate well-ventilated smoking rooms."
Worrall Thompson, who runs The Greyhound pub at Rotherfield Peppard near Henley-on-Thames and is patron of the smokers' group Forest, said:
"Since the introduction of the smoking ban there has been a dramatic increase in pub closures. The ban has damaged local communities with thousands of people deciding to stay at home instead of going out.
"Let's be fair. Tobacco is a legal product. In Britain ten million adult smokers contribute £10 billion a year in tobacco taxation alone. It’s only right that they should be accommodated in some public places.
"If the government doesn’t want adults to smoke at home in front of the children or litter the streets, they should be allowed to smoke in some licensed premises."
Simon Clark, director of Forest and the Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign said:
"Give landlords and customers a choice. We want the smoking ban amended so licensees can choose to provide a separate, well-ventilated smoking room for adults who wish to smoke.
"Let common sense prevail. A modest change in the law is all we ask."
Inner city pubs stubbed out by smoking ban
Traditional inner city pubs have suffered the most since the introduction of smoking bans in Scotland, England and Wales, a new report has found.
Researchers also found that the areas with the greatest levels of closure have been in Labour-held constituencies with an average of almost eleven pubs per Labour constituency, compared to 9.9 pubs per Liberal Democrat constituency and 7.6 pubs per Conservative constituency.
Of the ten hardest hit constituencies seven are Labour held, two Liberal Democrat, and just one (Cities of London and Westminster) Conservative.
All bar one of these constituencies (Argyll and Bute) are in the inner cities with one each in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh and Nottingham.
In Wales every Westminster constituency lost at least one pub. In Scotland only one Westminster constituency has escaped without a single pub closure.
The research was conducted by CR Consulting for the Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign. Oliver Griffiths, director of CR Consulting, said:
"The data show large numbers of traditional drink-led urban pubs shutting down. These are in areas with traditionally quite high levels of smoking so it would appear that regulars who used to enjoy a pint and a cigarette with friends have decided to stay at home instead."
John Madden, Executive Officer of the Guild of Master Victuallers, said, “The smoking ban has put a huge strain on the traditional urban pub. Many regular customers decided to smoke and drink at home and very few non-smokers came in to replace them.
“The result has been the closure of thousands of pubs. Licensees have lost their livelihoods, bar staff have lost their jobs, and many communities have lost their social centre.”
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said, “Everyone can see pubs are shutting, especially the more traditional community pubs. Many of these have been around for decades. They have been social centres for the communities that they serve and then suddenly they are gone.”
“Our pubs have offered a safe and regulated environment in which to enjoy a drink and a sociable chat. The smoking ban caused many smokers to stay away and those that still come have to stand outside. The ban may have cleared the air but its destroyed the atmosphere.
“Other European countries have had more sensible regulation allowing smoking rooms or exempting small bars and have avoided this devastation. The Executive should look at this again before it’s too late.”
Simon Clark, director of the Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign which counts TV chef and publican Antony Worrall Thompson and artist David Hockney among its supporters, said, “Labour was the principal architect of the smoking ban. It is ironic therefore that pubs in Labour-held constituencies have suffered the most.
“The smoking ban is an issue that MPs must address because local communities cannot afford to go on losing pubs at the present rate. The Coalition Government must review the smoking ban and consider options that bring us into line with most other countries in Europe where smoking is permitted in separate smoking rooms or designated smoking bars.”
David Nuttall, MP for Bury North who last year called for a change to the smoking ban, said, “This report confirms what many people have seen in their own area. Local pubs are closing down and in my view one of the contributing factors is the impact of the smoking ban. It is time the legislation was reviewed to allow for a sensible compromise.”
Simon Clark 07774 781840
MPs unite to change the smoking ban
MPs from the three main political parties have joined forces to support a campaign to change the smoking ban.
The Rt Hon Greg Knight, Conservative MP for East Yorkshire, Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, and John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, will host a reception for the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign at the House of Commons on Wednesday 29th June.
Supporters of Save Our Pubs & Clubs, including publicans and members of the Clubs & Institute Union which represents over 2000 working men’s clubs, have been invited to attend the event which marks the fourth anniversary of the smoking ban in England. Organisers say they will be lobbying MPs for a review of the ban and an amendment to the legislation.
Campaigners say the ban has had a devastating impact on community pubs throughout Britain. Almost three years after the introduction of smoking bans in England, Scotland and Wales, Scotland had lost 7.1% of its pub estate (467 pubs), Wales 7.3% (274), and England 7.6% (4,148).1
The ban, they say, has also hit working men’s clubs, many of which have closed or are struggling to survive.
Save Our Pubs & Clubs is a coalition of groups and individuals who believe that the smoking ban is excessive and should be amended to offer choice, protect jobs and help struggling establishments get back on their feet.
Campaigners want a review of the ban and an amendment to the legislation that would give pubs and private members’ clubs the option of having separate, well-ventilated smoking rooms.
Greg Knight MP, who helped launched the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign in 2009, said, “This is a unique opportunity for people to show how strongly they feel on this important issue. A modest change in the law, not a repeal of the smoking ban, is all we seek.
Mick McGlasham, general secretary of the Clubs & Institute Union which is supporting the event, said, “The ban was passed because the TUC wanted to protect staff and non-smokers but there is no reason why we cannot have a separate smoking room in what are private premises, especially with modern ventilation.”
Simon Clark, director of the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign, said, “Looking at the dramatic increase in pub closures since the introduction of smoking bans in Scotland, Wales and England, it is clear that the ban has been a big factor in the closure of pubs and clubs throughout Britain.
“The Government must review the ban and consider a change in the law that would allow separate smoking rooms in pubs and clubs.”
To attend the Save Our Pubs & Clubs reception at the House of Commons on Wednesday 29th June, telephone 01223 370156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simon Clark 07774 781840
Smoking ban to blame for pub decline, says new research
New research suggests that the smoking ban is the main cause of pub closures in the UK.
Using information from a respected industry database, researchers found that the number of pub losses demonstrate a very close statistical relationship between the introduction of smoking bans and the acceleration of the decline of the British pub.
This relationship, says the report, is considerably stronger than those that could be attributed to other factors such as the recession, alcohol duty or supermarket competition.
Researchers found a striking similarity in the rate of closures in Scotland, England and Wales following the introduction of smoking bans in each country.
Analysis of statistics from CGA Strategy showing the net figure of pubs closing revealed losses accelerating after the first year of the ban in each country — from between 0.5% and 1.2% in the first year to between 3.8% and 4.4% in the second year.
Almost three years after the introduction of smoking bans in the three countries, Scotland had lost 7.1% of its pub estate (467 pubs), Wales 7.3% (274), and England 7.6% (4,148). Scotland, which introduced a smoking ban a year earlier lost a further 4% of its pub estate in the fourth year after the ban, mirroring a similar decline in Ireland (11%) which banned smoking in pubs in 2004.
Total pub losses in England, Scotland and Wales since the introduction of smoking bans in all three countries are in excess of 5,500.
According to the report, which was commissioned by the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign, “While there is significant variation in the trajectories of pub closures in each country before the ban, there is an almost total correlation between the three countries after the ban.
“This indicates that they are affected by a strong common factor - the smoking ban. The correlation is in fact so close that the trend line for the three countries is identical.”
Oliver Griffiths, director of CR Consulting, said, “The decline of the British pub had started before the smoking ban but at a relatively low level. The smoking ban had a sudden and marked impact, accelerating the rate of decline.
“While it is not the only factor, the smoking ban is demonstrably the most significant cause of pub closures in recent years.”
Griffiths warned that further pub closures are inevitable. "In Scotland the smoking ban was introduced fifteen months before England and they have lost a further 4% of their pubs.
“If England continues to mirror that trend another 2000 pubs in England will shut down before the fourth anniversary of the ban in July 2011, and there is no indication that the closures will stop there."
Griffiths blamed the continuing decline on the loss of sociability in pubs.
“With smoking customers spending much of their time outside, some pubs may be becoming less sociable places, leading customers to question whether they want to drink there or at home.”
John Madden, executive officer of the Guild of Master Victuallers, said: "Traditional drink-led pubs have been caught in the crossfire in the war on smoking. As this report shows, the smoking ban has helped to put literally thousands out of business already and sadly we expect many more to follow, all through no fault of their own.
“Smoking rooms are allowed in most European countries, why can't we have them? They don't inconvenience non-smokers and may help us to keep our businesses going. Our pubs are part of the national character and a great place for people to meet and chat. At the time when we are supposed to be building a Big Society it just doesn't make sense to be forcing licensees out of business."
Simon Clark, director of the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign, said, “Politicians can bury their heads in the sand and pretend otherwise but there is no doubt that the smoking ban has had a devastating effect on a great many pubs.
“We were told that the ban would encourage a new wave of non-smoking customers but that hasn’t happened. Instead, many smokers have chosen to stay at home and a great many pubs have closed as a result.
“For the sake of our local communities, the Government must review the smoking ban. Options should include separate smoking rooms. “The Government should also relax the regulations on outdoor smoking shelters so that people can smoke outside in a warm and comfortable environment all year round.”
Simon Clark 07774 781840
New campaign to save pubs and clubs calls for changes to smoking ban
A new cross-party campaign is launched in Westminster today calling for amendments to the public smoking ban to help save many of Britain’s pubs and clubs.
With dozens of pubs and clubs closing every week, the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign brings together a wide range of politicians, pressure groups, think tanks, publicans and other representatives of the hospitality industry.
The aim is to secure amendments to the comprehensive ban on smoking in licensed premises when the legislation comes up for review in 2010. The campaign’s organisers argue that a change to the blanket ban would be fair to both smokers and non-smokers and would help pubs and clubs that are losing revenue, laying off staff and often facing closure.
A network of regional groups is to be set up throughout England and Wales to lobby politicians and raise public awareness of how an amendment to the smoking ban could help save hundreds of traditional community pubs and clubs.
Anthony Worrall Thompson, patron of the smokers’ group Forest and a leading supporter of the campaign, said:
“The smoking ban has had an extraordinarily detrimental effect on pubs and clubs and you can understand why. They used to be bastions of adult entertainment where young and old could meet and chat over a pint without the health police looking over their shoulders. Modern ventilation systems combined with separate rooms make it perfectly acceptable to smoke indoors. The legislation as it stands is excessive and I would like to see it amended."
The new campaign is supported by Forest, the liberal think tank Progressive Vision, the Adam Smith Institute, which champions the free market, and the Manifesto Club which campaigns for “freedom in everyday life”.
MPs from the three main parties have agreed to support the campaign.
Greg Knight, Conservative MP for East Yorkshire, said: "I fully support this campaign. Britain's pubs and clubs are at the heart of every local community and the UK approach of banning indoor smoking everywhere is damaging the viability of many licensed premises where people wish to smoke. Pub landlords and club committees know best what their customers want and they should be allowed to provide smoking rooms if there is a demand."
David Clelland, Labour MP for Tyne Bridge, said: “Pubs and clubs are feeling the strain economically and that may be partly due to the smoking ban, so I support this campaign.”
John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, said: "When the ban went through I proposed an alternative of a separate smoking room. This would be better for non-smokers as they would not have to go through a gauntlet of smokers when going to a pub, which is an unintended consequence of the ban. We need to amend the law so it is fair to smokers and non-smokers alike and doesn't compromise the future of pubs and clubs."
Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “It’s time to put the effects of the smoking ban back on the political agenda. Not only is the present legislation unfair on the many millions of adult smokers, it is increasingly threatening the existence of our local pub or club.
“We need to find ways to amend the ban, through the provision of separate, ventilated smoking areas, to cater for the wishes of all customers and to help pubs and clubs increase their turnover in these troubled economic times.”
Simon Clark 07774 781840
Note to editors
The Save Our Pubs & Clubs Campaign is launched at the Buckingham Arms, 62 Petty France, Westminster at 11am on Tuesday 23rd June. The launch will be attended by TV chef and restaurateur Anthony Worrall Thompson.
The banning of indoor smoking everywhere is damaging the viability of many licensed premises where people wish to smoke.
Rt Hon Greg Knight, MP